4317 Factoria Blvd SE Ste A
Bellevue, WA 98006

Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

September 22nd, 2014
Exciting New Options for Keratoconu
The past few years have brought exciting advancements for contact lenses for keratoconus and other irregular corneas.
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June 2nd, 2014
Update on contact lenses for irregu
So many exciting advancements in contact lenses for irregular corneas within the past few years! If your have irregular...
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Children's  Eye  Care

When it comes to their eyes, children present a range of unique challenges. Because they are growing and constantly developing, children's vision, focusing, and eye alignment can also fluctuate. And since so much learning is vision related, it is important to make sure the eyes are functioning at their best.

Eye Exams: How Often?

The American Optometric Association recommends that pre-school children receive a complete vision exam at the ages of six months, three years and five years. It is particularly important that a child have a complete evaluation in the summer prior to entry into Kindergarten. While in school, we recommend yearly eye examinations.

Your child's vision is essential to his success in school. When his vision suffers, chances are his schoolwork does, too.

Vision problems are common among school-age kids. According to Prevent Blindness America, one in four school-age children have vision problems that, if left untreated, can affect learning ability, personality and adjustment in school.

School-age children also spend a lot of time in recreational activities that require good vision. After-school team sports or playing in the backyard aren't as fun if you can't see well.

Frequent eye exams are important because during the school years, your child's eyeglasses prescription can change frequently. Our doctors will ensure that your child has the visual skills required for success in school and sports, such as accurate and smooth eye teaming and ability to shift focus from distance to near.

Warning Signs of Vision Problems in Kids

Refractive Errors are the most common cause of vision problems among school-age children. Parents, as well as teachers, should be aware of these 10 signs that a child's vision needs correction:

1. Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close
2. Losing his place while reading or using a finger to guide his eyes when reading
3. Squinting or tilting the head to see better
4. Frequent eye rubbing
5. Sensitivity to light and/or excessive tearing
6. Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
7. Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as reading or homework, or distance vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities
8. Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
9. Avoiding using a computer, because it "hurts his eyes"
10. Receiving lower grades than usual

Schedule an appointment in our Bellevue office if your child exhibits any of these signs. A visit with the doctor may reveal that your child has myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism. These common refractive errors are easily corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses.


Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are another concern with school-age children. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.3 percent of boys and 3.8 percent of girls ages 5 to 17 were identified in 2003 as having a learning disability (LD).

Blurry vision may be interfering with your child's ability to learn in school. Regular eye exams can detect and correct this and other vision problems.

Learning disabilities are psychological disorders that affect learning; they are not vision problems. But learning-related vision problems can sometimes can coexist with LD or be associated with learning disabilities.

In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.) found that children with binocular vision problems (intermittent exotropia and convergence insufficiency) were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children with normal eye alignment.

If your child frequently reverses letters while reading or writing, exhibits poor handwriting, dislikes or has difficulty with reading, writing or math, consistently mistakes his left for his right or vice versa, can't verbally express himself or consistently behaves inappropriately in social situations, then seek help.

A multidisciplinary approach usually is the best way to find the cause of learning problems. Consultation with your child's teacher should be the first step. But it's wise also to consult with an eye doctor who specializes in eye exams for children and your pediatrician for additional advice and possible referral to specialists.

The Problems With Vision Screenings

Keep in mind that a vision screening performed by your pediatrician or the school nurse is not a comprehensive eye exam. These screenings are designed to alert parents to the possibility of a visual problem, but not take the place of a visit to an eye care practitioner.

Vision screenings are helpful, but they can miss serious vision problems that your eye care practitioner would catch. Studies have found that up to 11 percent of children who pass a vision screening actually have a vision problem that needs treatment.

Most vision screenings only check distance vision. For school-aged children it is important to also check near vision, eye teaming, eye health etc.

Also, children who fail vision screenings often don't get the vision care they need. Two studies published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that 40 to 67 percent of children who fail a vision screening do not receive the recommended follow-up care by an eye doctor.

One reason for this lack of compliance is poor communication with parents who may or may not be present at the screening. One study found that two months later, 50 percent of parents were unaware their child had failed a vision screening.