Children are not always in tune with changes that occur in their eyesight. If there is a problem, they may or may not compensate in subtle or obvious ways to improve the situation. For example, early signs of refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism) may manifest in different ways:
- Squinting or holding a book close up or far away to read
- Dissatisfaction at school because they can’t see properly
- Sitting too close to the television
- Complaints of headaches
Beyond the need for prescription glasses to correct refractive errors, there are other vision conditions that can negatively affect a child’s eyesight, learning capabilities and social interactions:
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Strabismus (eye alignment issues)
- Congenital cataracts (cloudy lens)
Dr. David R. Pernelli, MD and Dr. Terrance K. Heacox, Jr., OD are experienced in identifying pediatric vision problems and providing proper treatment. They will formulate a treatment plan where parents can understand the challenge their child is experiencing and children can be encouraged to comfortably participate in their care.
If you notice any symptoms of eye problems in your child, contact us today to request an eye exam. Help your children be the very best they can be with clear vision.
Kids & Contacts
Is My Child Ready?
Parents frequently ask “Are contact lenses safe for children?” Contact lenses offer sharp, clear vision with no obstruction of peripheral (side) vision. For athletic children they can be especially beneficial because, unlike glasses, they don’t fog up, fall off, get scratched or break during play.
However, contact lenses are a medical device. They come with risks such as eye irritation and infections. At the worst, unregulated wear, improper cleaning and use can cause vision loss. Regular check-up examinations and fittings are an important and essential part of wearing contact lenses.
When kids first express an interest in wearing contacts, a child’s maturity and ability to handle contact lens responsibly is more important than age alone. As a parent or care giver ask yourself this: Does my child always do their chores, keep their room clean and make their bed? Do they show responsibility and good hygiene daily?
You need to make sure they:
- Understand the benefits of not wearing eyeglasses
- Can follow the doctor’s instructions exactly, day after day
- Understand the drawbacks of wearing contacts
- Know how to properly clean, disinfect and handle them
- Are capable of inserting and removing contact lenses by themselves
- Will abide by the doctor recommended wearing schedule
- Will not share or swap contacts with another person
- Will not use saliva, tap water, distilled water or non-sterile saline solution
- Understand to apply make-up after putting in the lenses, not before
- Understand to use hypoallergenic skin products and cosmetics or those marked “for contact lens wearers” or “for sensitive eyes” only
If the answer is No to any of the above you may wish to reconsider contact lenses until you are certain your child can be responsible enough to wear contacts.
If you feel your child is responsible, having a conversation about contacts with Dr. David R. Pernelli, MD or Dr. Terrance K. Heacox, Jr., OD will help determine if your child is ready for the next step. Please contact the Eye Institute of South Jersey, PC, at (856) 205-1100 to make an appointment.