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Top 5 Reasons Parents Don’t Have Their Children’s Eyes Checked

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At our office, I participate in a program called InfantSEE, which allows for a one-time, no cost visual evaluation for children 6-months to 1 year of age.  Conditions such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and amblyopia or lazy eye can be uncovered during this vision assessment.  In addition, severe conditions such as retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer that affects infants can be uncovered during an InfantSEE examination.  I examined an infant who had retinoblastoma last year.  He was referred to a specialist and is currently undergoing chemotherapy to save his eye. It is never too early to get your child’s eye examined.


Unless we take the time to look at the individual structures of the eye, it is unlikely that we can determine if the eyes are completely healthy.  In our office we incorporate technology to help us diagnose eye conditions early to prevent vision loss.  One of our instruments is called the Visionix. It measures six ocular modalities including the curvature on the surface of the cornea as well as measuring the thickness to rule out thinning conditions of the cornea.  The other instrument is the Optomap Retinal Exam, which allows us to take a picture of the back of the eye to rule out cancers and other ocular diseases.


Many young children cannot communicate their vision problems.  They may be able to see the board or read the bottom line at the pediatrician’s office, but can still have symptoms of eye strain and headaches.  This can lead to poor concentration and aversion to reading. This contributes to children being misdiagnosed as having dyslexia, ADD or ADHD.  A full visual assessment includes evaluating eye alignment, eye movement, eye tracking, and eye teaming to rule out a vision problem.  


Often, when children start to complain, there is already a significant prescription needed or an eye disease that is developing.  When we take this approach, we are being reactive instead of proactive.  Would you wait until you had a heart attack to find out you needed to take blood pressure medication? I hope not.  It would be responsible to check your blood pressure annually at your primary physician’s office including a complete blood work up.  Same goes with an eye examination.  It should be done at least annually to prevent vision loss.  A 12 year-old girl came to our office and complained of blurred vision.  Our eye examination uncovered a condition called keratoconus, a progressive thinning condition on the front surface of the eye that causes irregular astigmatism. She was referred for a surgical procedure called cross-linking to help strengthen the front surface of her eye to prevent further thinning.


We make time for vacations, going to the park, swim practice, baseball practice, band practice etc…We want the best for our children in their learning and development.  An eye examination takes about 1.5 hours from start to finish and there are 8,760 hours in a year.  You have the time and your children’s eyes cannot afford to wait.  


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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