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Frequently Asked Questions
Are Contact Lenses a Good Choice for Kids?
Contact lenses can offer several benefits over other forms of vision correction for kids. But a common question many parents have is: "When is my child old enough to wear contact lenses?"
Physically, your child's eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. In fact, some babies are fitted with contact lenses due to eye conditions present at birth. And in a recent study that involved fitting nearsighted children ages 8-11 with one-day disposable contact lenses, 90% had no trouble applying or removing the contacts without assistance from their parents.
How often should children have their eyes examined?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. After that, kids should have routine eye exams at age 3 and again at age 5 or 6 (just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade). For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is needed. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually.
My 5-year-old daughter just had a vision screening at school and she passed. Does she still need an eye exam?
Yes. School vision screenings are designed to detect gross vision problems. But kids can pass a screening at school and still have vision problems that can affect their learning and school performance. In fact, studies have found that up to 11 percent of children who pass a vision screening actually have a vision problem that needs treatment. A comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist can detect vision problems that a school screening may miss. Also, a comprehensive eye exam includes an evaluation of your child's eye health, which is not part of a school vision screening.
What is vision therapy?
Vision therapy (also called vision training) is like physical therapy for the visual system. It involves an individualized program of eye exercises designed to correct vision problems, such as amblyopia ("lazy eye"), eye movement and alignment problems, focusing problems, and certain visual-perceptual disorders. Vision therapy is not designed to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Vision therapy is usually performed in an optometrist's office, but most treatment plans also include daily vision exercises to be performed at home.
Can vision therapy cure learning disabilities?
No, vision therapy cannot correct learning disabilities. However, children with learning disabilities often have vision problems as well. Vision therapy can correct underlying vision problems that may be contributing to a child's learning problems.
What can I do when my eyes tire out from too much reading and computer use?
This is a common problem. See your eye doctor about computer eyeglasses that will help you focus more accurately and with less effort. When prescribed properly, these glasses can also help you read printed material. Lenses also can have tints and coatings to make your eyes feel a lot better.
Also, take frequent breaks (every 15-20 minutes) from reading or computer use. Look at something far away, like an object outside a window, to relax your focusing muscles. And make sure the lighting is correct for the activity you are doing — bright for reading and a bit dimmer for computer work.
Is it necessary to wear special eye protection when working on the computer? Is such protection necessary if I already wear prescription eyeglasses?
Not necessarily. However, there is increasing concern about high-energy visible (HEV) light wavelengths that are emitted from digital displays. New research is revealing that excessive exposure to this segment of blue light can damage retinal cells, leading to long-term vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Eyestrain is another issue. Having an accurate, up-to-date prescription and an ergonomically appropriate workstation can make a huge difference in managing your visual comfort while using your computer. Also, consider adding an anti-reflective coating on your lenses to minimize glare.