Infants should have their first eye exam before they turn one according the the American Optometric Association (AOA). However, most children have their first eye exam much later. InfantSEE is a program that provides eye exams for infants for free!
Poor eyesight in infants can negatively impact not only their vision, but other important milestones too. Up to 80% of what we learn is through our eyes and vision. The time period of 6-12 months of age is an extremely critical for vision development. In order to achieve foundational developmental milestones, an infants vision needs to be intact and free from any abnormalities.
According to the AOA, 85% of preschoolers don’t receive their first eye exam until age 5. In order to improve this, the AOA has developed a program called InfantSEE to provide infants with a comprehensive eye assessment free of charge regardless of insurance or financial situation. Participating eye doctors are specially trained to screen for many abnormalities such as infant cataracts, eye turns, and even cancer. A trained optometrist also possesses special skills to accurately determine nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and can even prescribe an infant glasses without ever having to ask “better one or two?”
The eye exam does not take long, as little as 15-20 minutes and can be done in a way that is fun and engaging for the child. If you have an infant age 6-12 months, schedule an appointment today!
There are several types of refractive error, and though we have layman’s terms for all of them they can still be very confusing to undersand.
What is myopia (nearsightedness)?
Generally, when an individual see something clearly up close, but things are blurry in the distance, doctors refer to this condition as myopia. The term that is often used with patients is nearsighted, implying that the patient can see clearly at near. In general, doctors refer to problems that require a pair of glasses to fix as refractive error.
Several factors influence myopia:
Evidence suggests that the younger a patient is diagnosed with myopia, the greater the refractive error will be later in life if left untreated.1
Children at the highest risk of developing myopia are those with two myopic patients.2 Risk diminishes with one myopic parent, and is lowest with no myopic parents.
Studies show that Asian children are at much higher risk than Caucasian children. In fact, it has been shown that Asian children also progress up to 50% faster than Caucasian children.
Are there any long term risks to myopia?
Yes. Unfortunately, children that develop myopia are at higher risk for other vision threatening diseases.
What can we do about myopia?
Fortunately, there are many studies that demonstrate that not only can myopia be slowed but it can also potentially be halted. Instead of going to the eye doctor every year expecting for your prescription to increase, you may find that it stays the same and never gets any worse. Therapies such as special contact lenses can not only correct for vision but can also treat myopia. Ask your eye care provider today about your options!
Zadnik K, Sinnott LT, Cotter SA, et al. Prediction of juvenile-onset myopia. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015;133(6):683-689.
Jones-Jordan LA, Sinnott LT, Manny RE, et al. Early childhood refractive error and parental history of myopia as predictors of myopia. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010;51(1):115-121.
COMET Group. Myopia stabilization and associated factors among participants in the Correcetoin of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMET). Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013;54(13):7871-7884. Published 2013 Dec 3.
According to the National Eye Institute, the number of American’s with glaucoma totals 2.7 million, a number which is expected to increase to 6.3 million by 2050. Early detection is key because the patients may have no symptoms until the disease has already caused irreversible vision loss. For this reason, glaucoma is sometimes referred to as the “silent thief” of vision. Due to the lack of symptoms, approximately half of all patients that have glaucoma are unaware they have the disease.
Causes and Risk Factors
Age. Caucasian American’s at increased risk over 60.
Race. African American’s are at increased risk over 40.
Gender. According to the National Eye institute, woman make up 61% of all glaucoma cases.
Family history. Immediate family with glaucoma increases your risk.
Corticosteroids. Drugs such as prednisone, cortisone, hydrocortisone, and even some steroid eye drops can increase risk for glaucoma.
Eye injuries. Blunt trauma to the eye can cause structures inside the eye to malfunction and rapidly increase eye pressure leading to glaucoma.
Other factors and conditions. Some studies suggest that systemic disease such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease increase your risk. Other risk factors include eyes with thinner corneas, sensitive optic nerves, and certain eye conditions and diseases such as myopia and retinal detachments can increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
Doctors of optometry are at the front line of glaucoma treatment and management. At several points during an eye exam, the doctor may detect certain risk factors or abnormalities that point to a possible diagnosis of glaucoma. These factors alone may be enough to determine a diagnosis, however new and sophisticated technology allows doctors the tools to diagnose, treat, and manage glaucoma much more effectively. It is not uncommon for multiple tests and visits to be required to appropriately and accurately diagnose glaucoma.
There are many treatments and management paths a doctor may decide for your individual case. The advent of new technology as well as better evidence based guidelines, your eye doctor may choose that monitoring your eyes for changes may be the best way to determine when treatment is necessary, if at all. There is no cure for glaucoma, and many treatments such as eye drops, surgery, or a combination of the two may be indefinite. Therefore, if a doctor is able to monitor for the progression of the disease rather than starting treatment immediately you can rest assured that your vision will be safe from adverse changes even if immediate medical treatment isn’t needed.
Prescription medications. Eye drops taken once or twice a day are often the starting point when treatment is initiated. However, oral medications are indicated in some cases.
Surgery. To decrease eye pressure, sometimes surgical intervention is indicated.
Implants. In order to help the eye drain the fluid properly, different types of implants may be surgically inserted into the eye.
It is vitally important to follow your doctors instructions on all treatment and future visits. Glaucoma is a very complex disease and often takes lots of information about your eyes and how it’s responding to treatment or monitoring in order to make the best decisions for your eyes. Depending on the severity and the progression of the disease, several treatment options may be implemented in order to reduce the risk of vision loss. Rest assured that your eye doctor has your best interest in mind and will keep your eyes safe and seeing their best for years to come. Learn more here, or click here to make an appointment with Rockwood Eyecare today!
If you have ever been confused by the different types of eye doctors out there, you are not alone! Many people have a hard time not only spelling the names of the different professions, but also figuring out which doctor will meet their eye care needs best.