Your Child’s Eyes


Back to School

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:

  • Look for indicators of vision issues.    Common signals that your child may be experiencing a vision problem include covering one eye, holding reading materials close to the face, a short attention span and complaining of headaches or other discomfort.


  • Prevent eye strain by monitoring use of digital devices. Increased exposure to electronic devices in and out of the classroom can cause digital eyestrain, including burning or itchy eyes, headaches, blurred vision and exhaustion. The American Optometric Association recommends following the 20-20-20 rule (taking a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and looking at something at least 20 feet away), blinking frequently and adjusting your child’s computer screen to prevent glare can prevent discomfort.


  • Wear appropriate eye protection for sports and outdoor activities.  Well-fitting, protective eye wear and quality sunglasses that offer UV protection are also critical to maintaining key visual skills for sports and preventing injuries.


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.



What does a Baby See?

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.

Acuity Testing Infants

Preferential Looking Test


Vision Screening Vs. Vision Exam

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.


Back to School – Vision Problems Could Equal Behavioral Issues

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.

Back to school 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:

Behavioral Signs:

  • Poor attention in the classroom
  • Not performing to potential
  • Doesn’t like, or refuses to do homework
  • Doesn’t like sports
  • Slow reader
  • Difficulty completing timed exams

Signs of Difficulty with Visually-Related Tasks:

  • Loses place frequently while reading
  • Headaches or eyestrain associated with reading or computer use
  • Words go in and out of focus
  • Words appear to “move” on the page
  • Double vision (constant or intermittent)
  • Having to re-read over and over for comprehension
  • Difficulty recalling what was read
  • Poor handwriting

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.



Children’s Eye Exam


When do children need an eye exam?

  • As infants
  • When they complain
  • Before starting kindergarten
  • All of the above

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.



Good Vision and Learning

Vision is a dominant process in the growth, development and daily performance of children. Many children with undetected vision problems struggle in the classroom. Some symptoms of learning related vision problems are:

  • Trouble finishing written assignments
  • Losing ones place when reading
  • Having a short attention span when doing close work
  • Skipping words when reading
  • Making errors when copying from a classroom board
  • Having greater potential than grades may indicate (under-performing)

Vision problems can affect comprehension performance in reading and manifest as social, eye-hand coordination, discipline, or emotional problems. From there, such vision problems can impact the rest of your child’s life and ability to succeed.


What is Good Vision?

Back to school Visual Acuity: It’s important to realize that good vision is more than 20/20 eyesight, Invented in the 1860’s, the term 20/20 indicates if you can see letters 3/8″ high at 20 feet. This does not take into account the eyes’ ability to see books or view the computer screen.

Eye Health: Eye disease can impair vision or lead to vision loss if not diagnosed and treated.

Visual Integration: The ability to process and integrate visual information, which includes and coordinates input from our other senses and previous experiences so that we can understand what we see.

Eye Teaming: The ability of the eyes to work properly together.

Eye Focusing: The ability of the eyes to focus and shift focus to near and distant points easily and effortlessly.

Eye Motility or Tracking: The ability of the eyes to move together across a page of print, to directly view an object, to move from one viewing area to another, or follow a ball.

The good news if that with early diagnosis and appropriate, comprehensive intervention, the prognosis is good in a majority of cases. Schedule your child’s eye examination to make the most of the new school year.


Back to School with Technology

Today’s gadgets and devices are placing demands on young eyes. The benefits of technology have a downside, especially when it comes to the eyes. Stress on the accommodative system (focusing) causes eye fatigue.

This can cause headaches, blurred vision and other related chronic discomforts.
Nearly 1 in 4 children are on digital devices 3 or more hours per day.
School text books are rapidly moving to tablets
40% of young adults spend at least 9 hours per day on digital devices.

Computer lab

10 things you should know about digital eyestrain:

  • BLURRED VISION Think about how you look at your phone, then your computer screen, back to your phone then at the TV. Like any muscle that is holding in one position for a length of time it contracts and then has a hard time relaxing. Same goes for your eye muscles. You have been looking at near objects, the muscles have contracted, then you quickly look up and the muscles have locked up and can’t relax and your vision becomes blurred.
  • TIRED EYES. Any muscle that is fatigued is going to be sore and tired.
  • HEADACHES. When your eyes are tired you will get headaches. This type of headache tends to occur around the eyes.
  • BODY FATIGUE. At the end of the day patients are finding they are just too tired and need to close their eyes. When the eyes are closed there is nothing for them to foccus on and the muscles can relax.
  • DRY EYES. Your blink rate goes down when the eye is focusing. Every time you blink the eye needs to readjust and that is work for your eye so the blink rate drops when you focus at near work. It can drop to 10 times a minute for computer work and 4 to 6 times a minute when looking at a smart phone or tablet. Not blinking allows the eyes to dry.
  • LIGHT SENSITIVITY. Eye muscles are extremely tired when working all day. When light comes into your eye it constricts the pupil which is right next to the ciliary body. the muscles that focus the eye. So when light comes into the eye it is a similar feeling to focusing. It is similar to lifting weights all day then someone comes along and punches you in the arm. That muscle is sore and tender.
  • EYE RUBBING. What tired muscle doesn’t feel good when you rub it?
  • POOR NIGHT VISION. Our eyes do not know how to focus on light. If you are staring at a light in the distance you wouldn’t be able to tell how far away it really is.
  • REDUCED CONCENTRATION. Any time a muscle is over used, such as the eye focusing on light all day, it becomes more difficult for the eye muscles to continue to hold that position.
  • DOUBLE VISION. Diplopia or double vision is caused when the eyes do not work together. Staring at near objects such as a computer, phone or tablet require persistant converging and diverging all day. The muscles become so tired they lose the ability to hold a position and we see double.

It is difficult to avoid the use of computers and tablets, but you can take steps to reduce digital eyestrain. Wearing the correct prescription and taking advantage of blue light blocking coatings are 2 ways to make your eyes more comfortable. Make an appointment.



How the Eye Sees Color

Color VisionThe 6 to 7 million cones in the human retina are responsible for color vision. The cones are photoreceptors concentrated in the central zone of the retina called the macula. The center of the macula is called the fovea, and this tiny (0.3mm diameter) area contains the highest concentration of cones in the retina and is responsible for our most acute color vision.

Inherited forms of color blindness often are related to deficiencies in certain types of cones or outright absence of these cones. Color blindness is not a form of blindness at all, but a deficiency in the way we see color. With this vision problem, individuals have difficulty distinguishing certain colors, such as blue and yellow or red and green.

Color vision deficiency is an inherited condition that affects males more frequently than females. An estimated 8 percent of males and less than 1 percent of females have color vision problems.

Red-green color deficiency is the most common form of color deficiency. Red-green color blindness is caused by a common X-linked recessive gene. Your mother must be a carrier of the gene or be color deficient herself. Fathers with this inherited form of red-green color blindness pass the X-linked gene to their daughters but not their sons, because a son cannot receive X-linked genetic material from his father.

Any time a mother passes along this X-linked trait to her son, he will inherit the color vision deficiency and have trouble distinguishing reds and greens.

There is no cure for color blindness. But some coping strategies may help an individual function better in a color-oriented world. Most people are able to adapt to color vision deficiencies without too much trouble. But some professions should be avoided, such as graphic designer, ship pilots, interior decorator and other occupations that  require precise differentiation of colors and depend on accurate color perception.

If the color deficiency is identified early enough in life, the individual may be able to compensate by training for one of the many careers that are not as dependent on the ability to see in a full range of colors.

It is possible to develop color vision problems later in life. Sudden or gradual loss of color vision can indicate any number of underlying health problems, such as cataracts. Color blindness can occur when changes due to aging  damage retinal cells. An injury or damage to areas of the brain where vision processing takes place also can cause color vision changes. If you feel your perception of color is changing, schedule an eye exam.

At Westside Optometry we use a desaturated color vision test that takes a couple of minutes.


Kids in Glasses


OP kids grad 2015  Don’t dread helping your child select and wear his first pair of glasses. Here are some tips and suggestions to help:

Selecting Frames

  • Fit – well fitting frames are key to your child wearing the glasses. A well fit frame is comfortable, stays adjusted and provides optimum clarity. Unlike shoes, you do not want a frame to “grow into.” The frame should fit well initially. Nosepads offer the ability to adjust for a better fit (and unadjust), but they can break off. A plastic frame that fits well on the bridge of the nose will hold it’s shape better.
  • Function – A flexible frame is necessary for babies and toddlers. We prefer a one piece frame with no parts to break off. There are flexible metals for older children. This can be beneficial for kids that fall asleep in the glasses or get bumped often. If your child plays sports a separate pair of sports goggles is recommended.
  • Fashion – once fit and function have been accomplished, the frame style is key to success. A child must like the glasses or wearing them will be a daily battle. Fortunately, there are many frame styles and colors available in children sizes.

OP kids metal 2015

The Lens

Polycarbonate is a requirement for all children. It is impact resistance, lightweight and has ultraviolet protection. Other enhancements to consider are non-glare coatings and tints. A lens that changes from light to dark can be appreciated for a child who is indoors and outside.

Wearing the Glasses

Most children will wear the glasses because they will see better. Parents can set a good example by being positive about the child wearing glasses and about their own eyewear. Also be clear on when the glasses should be worn, full-time, distance or reading. When your child picks up the new glasses, we will explain how to care for them and provide a case for storage. You may hear a familiar mantra – “If the glasses aren’t on your face, put them in the case.”

The glasses will need to be tightened and adjusted with constant handling. Don’t hesitate to bring them in for maintenance, (and a little cleaning).


OP Kids 2015


Eye Safety in the Gym


Basketball is the leading cause of sport-related eye injuries according to Prevent blindness America, Roughly 6,000 Americans each year report eye injuries from basketball. Basketball also leads the 15 and older age group for eye injuries.
The best recommendation for eye injury prevention is wearing protective eyewear that meets the ASTM standards.
The type of eye injury varies depending on the sport but the most common include corneal abrasion, blunt trauma, fractured eye socket and detached retina. The most common injuries occurring on the basketball court are abrasions caused by fingers scratching the eye and surrounding tissues.

Sports goggles can be worn with or without prescription lenses.  Protective EyewearAt Westside Optometry we have sizes for children, teens and adults and they are available in a variety of color combinations.