Back to School

“Oh wow, Mamma Chhotaa Bheem!”

Mrs. Sinha watched her five-year old’s eyes widen with excitement at the Mall. Sushant was about to begin school and the mother-son duo had come to purchase his school supplies. As Sushant went gaga over everything Chhotaa Bheem (a much-loved cartoon character), Mrs. Sinha couldn’t help getting nostalgic about her own childhood. Ah! The excitement of the month of June! The aroma of fresh books. The elation of picking out new raincoats. The excitement of meeting old friends…

Mrs. Sinha was shaken out of her reverie by a poster at the checkout counter. “Have you ticked off your 5-year old’s back to school check list?” it said. Mrs. Sinha casually glanced at the 10 suggestions and gave herself a mental pat on the back. Just then, her attention was caught by the last line.

Eye exam just before kid enters first grade.
Now what was this all about? she wondered. The queue at the checkout counter was moving at a snail’s pace and she decided to Google it on her smart phone.

When Should my Child have His First Eye Check Up?
It is recommended that all children should have their first eye check-up at 6 months of age.

6 months! Mrs. Sinha was shocked. Sushant had never been to an eye doctor until now.

How frequently should my child have his eyes checked?
The American Optometric Association recommends the following schedule for eye tests for children:

For Children who do not have any symptoms and are risk free:

First Eye Check: At 6 months of age.

Second Eye Check: At 3 years of age

Third Eye Check: Before First Standard / At the time of entering school (Around 5 – 6 years of age).

Next Eye Check-up: Every 2 years.

Some children stand a bigger chance of developing eye problems.

Risk factors which make a child prone to eye problems are:

1. Babies that are born before term, had low birth weight or required oxygen at birth. If the birth involved a difficult delivery or was accompanied by distress to the baby in the womb.

2. If the mother developed infections during pregnancy like herpes, rubella, AIDS etc.

3. Have someone in the family who has suffered from cataracts since birth (called congenital cataract), eye cancer (called retinoblastoma) or certain genetic diseases.

4. Kids who suffer from developmental delay, convulsions (seizures), cerebral palsy (a type of brain disorder).

5. Kids who have a squint or high spectacle numbers or if the two eyes have markedly different spectacle powers.

For These Children who have the above Risk Factors:

First Eye Test: At 6 months unless the Paediatrician advises on an earlier eye check (For e.g. Premature babies need to have their eyes checked before day 30).

Second Eye Test: At 3 years of age or earlier as recommended.

From 6 – 18 years: Eye tests once a year or earlier, if advised by eye doctor.

Why is Eye Testing important in Children?
Vision testing at the right age is essential to ensure that our kids have all the visual skills that they need to do well at school. Studies have shown that about 1 in 5 children in Navi Mumbai schools suffer from eye problems. Kids who are not able to see their blackboard, books, ball or friends clearly often get frustrated due to poor peripheral awareness, bad hand eye coordination, learning and behaviour problems.

Did your child had his eye tests as per the recommended schedule? If he/she hasn’t, then the Pediatric Ophthalmology Department at Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute (AEHI) in Navi Mumbai is the place where you need to be. The Child Eye Specialist at Advanced Eye Hospital in Navi Mumbai is well trained and highly experienced in dealing with kids’ eye problems. To book an appointment with a child eye specialist click on the icon below:

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