School age children can experience unexpected and sudden changes in vision that may lead to behavioral and attention issues in the classroom. Make a comprehensive eye examination a priority for your child this year.
Some important health and safety tips for your child’s eyes:
One in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem because changes in their eyesight go unrecognized by both the child and their parents. Include an eye exam on your back to school list. It may be the single most important investment you can make in your child’s education and overall health.
An infant’s vision improves significantly during his first 6 months. Basic visual function develops rapidly during the first year.
Newborns focus on objects that are 8-10 inches away and will wince and blink in response to bright light, but only for a brief amount of time. At birth approximate visual acuity is 20/800. Infants will stare intently at high contrast images such as the edges of faces. Newborn eyes may cross or wander for the first 4 months.
By two to three months, babies have an approximate visual acuity of 20/400. At this age, they will track movement as well as smile at objects that are about a foot away. Reaching for objects around 3 months is expected.
At 6 months the vision has improved to at least 20/100. A 6 month old infant will open his mouth to a spoon and will recognize his own face in the mirror. Both eyes should focus equally. Depth perception is developing.
A twelve month old child will have visual acuities of 20/60 and can judge distances fairly well, throw things with precision and pick up small objects with the fingers and thumb.
A comprehensive visual assessment between 9-12 months is recommended, earlier if the infant is at risk for eye or vision disorders. Early intervention is critical to successful vision and treatment.
Do you think you will know if you have glaucoma?
The first symptom of the most common type of glaucoma (open angle) is permanent loss of vision. Once vision loss occurs it is downhill, the damage from glaucoma is irreversible and challenging to slow down.
Glaucoma signs include increase intra-ocular pressure (IOP) which is measured during an eye exam. Visual field loss, also measured during an eye examination and loss of retinal nerve fibers and damage to the optic nerve, visible during a dilated eye examination. The best way to determine if you have or are at risk of glaucoma is by having a dilated eye examination.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve usually caused by increased pressure inside the eye.
Age – greater than 60
Race – African American have higher risk
Glaucoma is treated with drops or surgery and sometimes both.
Don’t wait until you have vision loss to learn that you have glaucoma, schedule an eye exam today.
A contact lens is a medical device, like a breast implant or a hearing aid. Contacts can be worn to correct vision as well as for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons. In the United States, all contact lenses require a current prescription. A contact lens prescription generally expires on a yearly basis. This is to ensure that the eyes are healthy enough to support contact lens wear and that the current contact lenses are still the most appropriate.
An eye examination is necessary to determine the suitability of contact lenses and also to determine the size, parameters and limitations of the eye. This typically includes a refraction to determine the proper power to see clearly, keratometry to measure the shape and size of the cornea and a thorough health assessment of the eye.
Conditions that may complicate contact lens wear include dry eye, irregular and high astigmatism and eyelid irregularities.
The department of motor vehicles, the school nurse and the pediatrician use vision screening to identify vision problems. Screening usually involves standing a given distance from a lettered chart, covering one eye and reading down the chart to the smallest letter possible.
A vision screening is intended to help identify children with eye or vision problems that threaten sight or impair their ability to develop and learn normally. However, vision screenings are a limited process and cannot be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather to indicate a potential need for further evaluation.
Screenings are typically designed to detect problems with distance vision, and that is important for children socially and physically, but myopia represents the least risk for reading and learning. A myopic child is more likely to notice that the board is blurry and move to the front of the classroom. Hyperopia on the other hand, makes it more difficult to see things close up and astigmatism effects vision at all distances. Children with uncorrected hyperopia and astigmatism will have more difficulty reading and writing and may not even be aware that the difficulty is due to his or her vision. These are the children that may complain of headaches, avoid reading and school related tasks.
A vision screening test identifies some vision problems, but can miss disorders that have a profound effect on a child’s ability to succeed in school.
During a comprehensive eye examination an optometrist can identify, diagnose and prescribe treatment.
This article was recently released by the California Optometric Association.
The back-to-school season is the time to make sure your child is fully prepared and ready to take on the challenges of school. Perhaps the most overlooked, yet immensely important part of that preparation is the all-important vision examination. There is a very strong relationship between vision and learning, as well as vision and behavior in the classroom.
Children who do not have the necessary visual-motor and visual-perceptual skills to compete in the class room with their classmates, may act out, be easily distracted or not be able to pay enough attention to perform to their potential. A 15 year long study at the San Bernardino Juvenile Hall revealed that a much higher percentage of juvenile delinquents have vision problems than in the average population. According to the study by optometrists Stan Kaseno and Kristy Remick, poor visual skills can contribute to poor self-esteem, which can lead to poor attitudes and behavior in school. After a program that addressed the inmates problems, including vision and victim’s awareness classes, the repeat offender rate decreased from 90% to 15%.
All students should have their vision and visual skills checked yearly by an optometrist before going back to school to make sure they have the learning readiness skills that are so important to academic and athletic performance.
Here are some signs to look out for that could indicate that your child has a possible vision problem:
Signs of Difficulty with Visually-Related Tasks:
If your child has any of the above problems, and is not performing to his or her potential in school and sports, schedule an eye examination. It is important to detect and treat any underlying vision problems that may be interfering with school performance.
When do children need an eye exam?
Yes, All of the above are true
A child’s first eye exam should be between 9 and 12 months to ensure proper visual development.
Parents have a checklist of appointments before a child starts school, because reading is critical for academic success, good vision should be at the top of that list.
If your child is complaining of blur, headaches or eyestrain, he is overdue for an eye examination.
Call now to schedule your child’s eye examination or schedule online.
Floaters are spots which can move about in the vision and which are sometimes accompanied by flashes of light. To understand these symptoms it is necessary to understand the basic anatomy of the eye.
Anatomy of the Eye:
The structure of the eye resembles that of a hollow ball. The central hollow is filled with a clear jelly called the vitreous. In the front part of this ball there is an opening called the pupil leading to the outside. Looking the inside of the hollow is a thin layer called the retina which is the part of the eye with which a person sees. When we are children the vitreous is solid like cold jello.
As part of normal changes, the vitreous gel becomes liquefied. This does not occur all at one time so there are pockets of liquefied vitreous next to solid vitreous gel with a filament-like membrane between. When the eye moves the liquid moves easily and sloshes around, causing the filament-like membranes to move and the movement of the membrane casts a moving shadow on the retina which we see as a floater. Where the membranes are attached to the retinal surface, the movement causes a tugging, pulling or traction on the retina. When the retina is pulled or bumped we see the response as a flash of light. Therefore, when the eye moves we see floaters and sometimes we also see light flashes.
If the membrane attached to the retina pulls strongly enough, it can produce a tear or hole in the retina. When a tear forms, there may be a small amount of bleeding, and blood particles moving around in the liquid create floaters which are like a shower of tiny black spots.
Significance of Floaters:
Floaters are not by themselves dangerous, but are a warning that a hole in the retina might exist or that other changes might have taken place. Because of this, it is important for anyone who has recently developed floaters to have a dilated eye examination, including examination of the far edges of the retina where tears are most likely to occur. In the majority of cases this examination will not reveal any holes. If, however, a hole is found in the retina, it usually can be treated with either laser before a more serious problem, such as a retinal detachment, develops.
These also can be associated with shrinkage of the gel-like substance (vitreous) as it moves and bumps the retina. Flashes can be caused by rubbing the eyes too hard. Retinal hole formation can also cause light flashes, and so the presence of this symptom requires a careful retinal examination. Flashes can occur from other causes as well.
Follow-up of Floaters and Flashes:
Repeat dilated eye examinations are indicated if suspicious signs are found during an eye examination or if later the patient notices either a sudden increase in floaters and flashes or a veil falling into the vision.
If you are experiencing either new floaters and/or flashes of light, call to have a dilated eye examination sooner than later. Early treatment of holes and retinal tears is less risky and more successful than treatment of a retinal detachment.
Did you know your eyes are windows to your general health? Many systemic conditions can be detected with a dilated eye examination. Looking into a dilated eye, I can see a view of the blood vessels and assess vascular health. Your eyes can tell a lot about your visual health and overall wellness.
Besides helping you see better, annual eye exams can aid in detection of serious eye conditions, like glaucoma and cataracts and health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. This is important since you won’t always notice the symptoms yourself – and some of these diseases cause irreversible damage.
If it’s been at least a year since your last eye examination, call the office and schedule an appointment. (707)762-8643. Schedule online.
Macular degeneration is a retinal disease which can lead to legal blindness. More specifically, it affects the macula, the portion of the retina important for detailed vision like reading.
There are two forms of macular degeneration: wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration is usually slower in destruction of the macula, causing gradual to little loss of central vision. The wet form is more aggressive and destroys the central vision faster. The wet form is associated with the presence of abnormal blood vessels growing somewhere within the layers of the retina. These abnormal blood vessels can leak and bleed.
Dry macular degeneration causes a slower loss of tissue. While there is treatment for the wet form, there is no approved treatment for the dry form.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration include blurry central vision and/or distortion. In some cases, there may be blind spots within the central vision. The vision loss in both types is progressive. It is the rate at which vision loss develops which differentiates the wet form from the dry. Remember, wet macular degeneration causes faster and more devastating loss of vision compared to the dry form.
Treatment for Macular Degeneration
There is no treatment for dry macular degeneration. While AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) vitamins may be indicated for a small subset of macular degeneration patients, it does not improve the condition or vision. The supplements are primarily preventative. There are different formulations of “eye vitamins,” but the contents of the supplement used for the study were 500 milligrams of vitamin C; 400 International Units of vitamin E; 15 milligrams of beta-carotene (often labeled as equivalent to 25,000 International Units of vitamin A); 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide; and two milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Copper was added to the AREDS formulations containing zinc to prevent copper deficiency anemia, a condition associated with high levels of zinc intake.
Other preventative measures for both types of macular degeneration include not smoking, regular exercise and a healthy diet.
The mainstay of treatment for wet macular degeneration involves injections into the eye with anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) medications.
These medications (Lucentis, Avastin, Eylea) attach to the abnormal blood vessels, preventing additional leakage and bleeding. Often there can be improvement in vision.
Early treatment is key to maintaining vision. Regular dilated eye examinations are advised.