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Think you child doesn't need to go to the eye doctor? Do you know how well he can see? Let me give you five points to make you think about why you really should take your child to an optometrist.
1. Kids don’t know how they are supposed to see
Let that resonate. I recently heard of a story of someone
not getting glasses until they were 10 years old. At which point, when she got
glasses, she proclaimed, “I thought trees were just green blurs.”
Oh but she was 10, you are silently judging. OK so, here, judge me instead.
I took my 6-year-old to the optometrist. It turned out, he needed glasses to help
him see letters better. It’s not a very strong prescription, but it’s not nothing
either. I took him on a whim, out of my own concern. My husband noticed he was
holding books one inch from his face.
Last summer, I took our 4-year-old boy just to be on the
very safe side. No way, I thought, no way will he need glasses. My husband and I
have perfect vision.
During the eye exam, I began to panic. It became clear my son
could not very well at all. The
optometrist and I kept making eye contact, our eyes getting bigger under the
mutual understanding that it was a very good thing I was “just being cautious”
and bringing my son in.
2. The eye charts on the wall do not cut it
I take my son to a pediatrician.
Of course, I do. My son, for 4 ½ years, had been a loving, very high maintenance
child. He napped every hour and a half until a little over one. Much like a
newborn. I always felt like something was bothering him.
I mentioned this to my
I went to an allergist, a GI, but
was never told to have his eyes checked. Most pediatricians don’t tell you to
go to an optometrist but ...
3. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest you
get your child's eyes checked at 12 months
My son’s eyes could have been caught at 12
months vs. 4 ½ years old. He could have been saved years of headaches and
frustrations. Me, too. We are also glad we brought him in, because we found out
one of his eyes was basically giving up. Oddly enough, our pediatrician never suggested we take our children to the optometrist. Yet both of my boys ended up needing glasses at the ages of 6 and 4, and I brought them in on my own prompting.
4. If you do not catch some of these eye conditions
by a certain age, they are irreversible.
In the case of my son, if what my son has hadn't been found by the age of 8, he would have had his eye permanently
damaged. Now my son wears a patch 3 hours a day over his good eye to make his
weaker eye get stronger. He’s proud of his patches. I experimented with many
and found these cloth guys off of Etsy and Amazon to be our favorites.
5. You can make your child’s education so much more enjoyable
While I am a big believer in play with the little ones, my 4-year-old complained that art was so hard his first year of pre-school. I
emailed his teacher and said Rhodes is complaining about art, do you make him
do it? She was surprised to hear him say that. Now, knowing that he just was struggling so
much to see, I now know why art was “so hard.” He now loves making art.
I have heard countless stories of kids struggling
unnecssarely all due to not having glasses. I have talked extensively to my optometrist and the people in his office. He said he even sees teenagers come
in. Teens who have struggled with their grades all due to not being able to
Take your baby between 12 months to a year and a half. After
that, it’s harder to test them until they are 3 (think: sitting still and a
toddler). Of course, if you suspect something even if they are a toddler, take
Look, I’m no doctor, I’m not even a nurse. I’m horrible at
science and math, but I am a mom with two boys who needed glasses all based on
my mom intuition. Once I was blown away by this I started talking to my doctor
and the optometrist and his office.