August is Children’s Vision & Learning Month
It may surprise you to learn that babies, though they can see, are not born with all of the vision skills they need in life. From birth, they have to learn how to use their eyes, and throughout childhood, their vision skills continue developing. By the time a child is two years old, their hand-eye coordination and depth perception should be well-developed. Since August is Children’s Vision & Learning Month, here are some things that you, as a parent, can do with your child to ensure his or her vision is developing properly.
Practice Vision Skills
From ages 2 to 5, fine-tuning visual abilities gained during infancy and developing new abilities are the goals. This can be done by having your child do things like stack blocks, color and draw in coloring books, and roll a ball back and forth. The preschool years are a time for developing the vision skills that children will need when they are in school. From 6 to 18, much of a child’s vision will develop through reading, writing, chalkboard work, and working on computers. When vision isn’t developing properly, children may experience difficulty in school. This might be because they haven’t developed certain vision skills, but can often be a sign of vision problems, as well.
Learn About Signs of Vision Problems
For children 2-5, signs of vision problems can include sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close to their face, squinting or tilting their head, rubbing their eyes, and avoiding activities that rely on vision, such as coloring, puzzles, and other detail-oriented tasks. For older children, many of the same signs can be an indication of trouble seeing—signs like avoiding reading or other close-work activities, frequent headaches, covering one eye, seeing double, and a short attention span are also signs of potential vision problems. Children may not tell you about problems they are having with their eyes, because they might think that’s the way everyone sees. It’s up to you to care for their vision. By age 3, your child should visit with an optometrist to make sure that their vision is developing correctly, and then again at age 5. After that, visit an eye doctor at least once every two years. If it turns out there’s any problems, the doctor can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Regular vision checkups are the key to being able to see as you should be, and as a parent, you are responsible for your child’s vision.
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