Pediatric and Kids Exams

Dr. Lillie has received extensive training at the prestigious Illinois Eye Institute’s Pediatric and Binocular Vision Clinic in Chicago, and he believes that there is no greater frustration than knowing a child will not meet their full potential simply because a comprehensive eye examination was not performed. Family Vision Optical provides comprehensive pediatric and kids eye exams.

Every child will be evaluated for the presence of a “lazy eye”, depth perception, focusing ability, and how well the eyes work together as a team. Learn more about children’s vision below.

Ask Dr. Lillie

At what age should my child start getting eye exams?

This is a popular question I get from parents, especially as the school year begins, and as a parent, I feel it is one of the most important questions I can answer. The truth is we do pediatric and kids exams as early as 6 months old and recommend an exam with an eye doctor by 3 years old. I then recommend yearly once they start school.

As a parent and optometrist, I think it is important to realize:

  • 80% of learning is visual
  • School screenings are not comprehensive eye exams do not test for lazy eye, focusing ability, depth perception, or overall eye health.
  • After the age of 7 years old, visual and eye development is finished and more difficult to correct (The Critical Period).
  • Symptoms to watch for: Cannot pay attention in class, poor handwriting, head tilt, excessive blinking/squinting, difficulty reading or loses their place when reading, and headaches.

The Importance of Vision

  • 80% of learning is visual
    • Impaired vision hinders
      • Learning
      • Athletic Performance
      • Musical Performance
  • As a Parent:
    • Year round 20/20 vision is the goal for every child
    • The old model is yearly pediatric and kids exams and just updating
    • The goal is for your child to see 20/20 year round. If they cannot see, they cannot learn or perform. The old model is to be seen yearly and update the prescription then. The problem is that if the prescription changes, was it after 3 months? 6 months? The child could be living with an incorrect prescription and not seeing clearly for the majority of that year.

Symptoms of Poor Vision

  • Cannot pay attention in class
  • Avoidance of reading or homework
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Poor penmanship
  • Wandering eye/Head Tilt
  • Squinting/headaches

Healthy Eye Tips

  • Spend 2 hours a day outside
  • Limit near work to 3 hours a day
    • Homework
    • Screen time
    • Coloring
    • Reading
  • Take Breaks
    • 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds and look 20 feet away

Your Child’s Prescription

  • Myopia (Near-sighted)
    • What it means: This means your eyes are too big, and things are blurry far away
      • We are seeing a massive increase in Myopia due to our ever changing work and school environments
      • We expect 50% of the population to myopic by 2050
    • Are There Risks?
      • The inability to see correlates with the inability to learn/focus in class
      • Uncorrected Myopia can affect life outside of learning (sports, music, self confidence)
      • The higher the prescription the more likely to develop eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and retinal detachment
    • How Do We Treat?
      • Blurry Vision
        • The standard way to the vision aspect of Myopia is with glasses or contacts
      • The disease of Myopia and slowing the growth of the eye (which increases the prescription)
        • We have therapies and treatment to slow the growth of the eye and slow the progression of a child’s prescription
          • Our Therapy program is comprehensive and all encompassing.
            • We see the patient multiple times a year to check the growth of the eye and make sure they are seeing 20/20 year round.
            • This allows for maximum visual performance year round and lowers the risk of eye disease later in life
      • Treatment Options
        • Orthokeratology
          • This is where a therapeutic contact lens is worn while sleeping and allows for 20/20 vision during the day without glasses or contacts
          • It is like retainers for your eyes
        • Eye Drops
          • We can use prescription eye drops to slow the growth of the eye
        • Therapeutic Soft Contact lenses
          • These are similar to traditional soft contact lenses, but specially designed to slow the progression of myopia.
  • Hyperopia (Far-sighted)
    • What it means: When you are far-sighted, things are blurry up close
      • However, in young patients, who have a lot of focusing power, they usually can see well far away and up close.
        • They just overwork their focusing muscles and will complain of headaches, eye strain, and fluctuating vision especially when going from near to far.
      • 2 Analogies
        • When you are far-sighted you have to focus to see.
          • This means you focus to see far away and even more to see up close
          • Analogy #1: When looking up close, it is similar to running uphill, if you are far-sighted, you are doing this with a backpack on
          • Analogy #2: If I gave you a 5lb weight, and told you to do curls for 5 minutes you would be fine. If you did this all day, everyday your biceps would get extremely tired. This is what is happening to you eyes because your focusing muscles are over-working
    • Are There Risks?
      • Far-sighted patients may be more likely to get certain types of glaucoma
      • Headache and eye strain are the most common complaints
      • Patients can complain of blurry vision at distance or it takes a lot of time to refocus when looking from near to far. This is because the focusing muscles are “cramping”.
      • How Do We Treat?
        • Blurry Vision, Eye Strain, Headaches
          • These patients generally see well far away, so full-time wear glasses or contacts are less likely to be worn
            • We do have new anti-fatigue lenses that can be worn full time and allow patients to see far away and still get the assistance they need up close
            • The higher the prescription, the more likely full time wear glasses or contacts will be accepted
          • We suggest near work or “computer/reading glasses”
          • Advise taking breaks (20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds and look 20 feet away)
    • Astigmatism (Oval shaped eyes)
      • What it means: This means that your eyes are shaped more like ovals (football) vs circles (basketball) and vision is affected at near and far
        • Patients will notice shadows or “ghost images” on the things they are viewing
          You can have astigmatism with near-sightedness or far-sightedness
      • Are There Risks?
        • Very high amounts of Astigmatism can be signs of corneal irregularity and disease
      • How Do We Treat?
        • Blurry Vision
          • The standard treatment is with glasses or contacts

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    (616) 219-8153