The Importance Of Vision Screening In Infancy

It is important that people of all ages have regular vision screenings, but is is vitally important that they be done in infants and young children. There are many eye and vision problems that, if left untreated, can lead to a lifetime of poor vision or even blindness. Many of these problems, if caught early enough, can be completely alleviated.

A newborn has very poor vision due to weak eye muscles and a brain that is not accustomed to receiving visual stimuli. Over time, both the eye muscles and the pathways along the ocular nerve strengthen, and the child's vision improves. If a problem prevents the timely strengthening of the vision, there is a chance that it never occurs, leaving the child's vision limited to varying degrees.

To prevent minor and perhaps temporary problems from developing into major vision issues, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) recommend early, as young as one month of age, and regular, vision screenings for every child. This increases the chances of vision or eye problems being caught early enough to prevent permanent damage.

Common Infant Eye Problems

  • Amblyopia - this is more a problem of the brain than the eye, but the result is poor vision. This occurs when the brain does not properly process visual stimuli from one or both eyes. If not caught and corrected, the visual processing center of the brain may not ever be able to process visual information properly.
  • Strabismus - this is the misalignment of one or both eyes. Left untreated it leads to amblyopia, but caught early the misalignment can be repaired, either through the wearing of glasses or surgery, allowing the brain to learn how to process visual stimuli properly.
  • Refractive errors - these include nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as astigmatisms. While it is important to correct these vision issues in all ages, left untreated in infants they can lead to developmental delays, a lack of coordination and poor motor skill development.

Thankfully, pediatricians know the importance of early vision screenings. Most offices are equipped with the basic equipment needed to recognize vision problems in young children and infants. The screenings should be done at your children's regular check ups. If you child attends public school, they will also provide annual vision screenings. Be sure to follow up on any recommended visits to eye care professionals and your child should be on the path to healthier eyes and better vision.

For more information, contact a business such as Fields Family Eye Care - Kimberly A Fields Od.