As children and teens progress through school, it is vital to have regular eye exams that ensure vision problems do not slow learning. According to the College of Vision Development, an estimated 25% of students have vision problems needing treatment. 

While many schools offer vision screenings, they may not be performed by a trained optometrist and typically focus on distance vision. A complete eye exam by a qualified optometrist or ophthalmologist at Vold Vision in Northwest Arkansas will check for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, color blindness, clumsy eyes, lazy eye, and more.

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During a baby’s first year, the eyes develop significantly from 20/400 visual acuity at birth to 20/25 after about six months. Since infants and young children cannot communicate eye problems, a pediatric eye exam identifies and treats certain conditions before they can cause permanent problems. 

As part of the InfantSEE® program, Vold Vision offers free eye exams to infants up to one year old so parents can help their child’s visual and general development. Vold Vision provides pediatric eye exams for premature babies through 18 years of age. 

At a pediatric eye exam, the doctor will look for vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and eye functionality. They will also assess for other specific conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (misalignment of eyes), convergence insufficiency, retinopathy of prematurity, and nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movements). 

Eye exams for infants and young children are chosen based on the child’s level of development (their ability to read, understand, and speak). Some of the tests to assess the visual development of children under age five are:

  • The pupil response test checks to see if the pupil properly opens and closes when exposed to light.
  • The fixate and follow test checks that the eyes can fix on an object and follow it.
  • Preferential looking uses either blank or striped cards to see if the baby is more attracted to the stripes.
  • The retinoscopy test uses the reflection of light to determine a child’s eyeglass prescription.
  • An eye test with LEA symbols (recognizable images like a house, apple, and shapes) instead of a chart with letters to check visual acuity.

For over age five, routine vision screening includes visual acuity testing with a standardized Snellen chart, an eye exam to check the reaction of the pupils, and a physical inspection of the eyes and eyelids. 

While other tests may be suggested if concerns are found, most eye exams for children and teens should be fast and non-invasive. The Optical Shop inside Vold Vision can help kids find the right glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses for their needs.

Myopia management slows the rate of your child’s glasses prescription, reducing the risk of vision loss and decreasing their dependency on contact lenses and glasses. Partnering with Bright Futures, Vold Vision’s pediatric myopia program is completely customized to your child’s eyes, lifestyle, and age and will be evaluated up until 18 years old. 

Myopia, also referred to as nearsightedness, is an ocular condition where objects at a distance appear blurry. Myopia is caused by an elongated eye caused by genetics, environment, and other factors. 

Commonly, myopia starts during childhood and progresses rapidly over the year if interventions are not made, increasing the risk of permanent vision loss and other serious ocular diseases. With myopia, early intervention is key to your child’s academic success, sports, extracurricular activities, and overall eye health.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends children receive eye exams at six months, three years, and before first grade. An eye exam is critical if there is a family history of vision problems or if a child is displaying any signs of eye problems, including:

  • Closing one eye
  • Eye rubbing
  • Sitting too close to the screen (television, computer, or other)
  • Squinting
  • Excessive blinking
  • Eye discharge
  • Frequent headaches
  • Losing their place while reading
  • Red eyes
  • Squinting

Any child or teen participating in sports or other activities should also talk to their eye doctor about protective eyewear and sunglasses.

Help your children get a strong start in life with infant visual screenings and early childhood eye exams at Vold Vision in Northwest Arkansas. Contact Vold Vision to schedule an eye exam today to treat onset vision problems for a lifetime of better sight. 

How Does Pediatric Myopia Treatment Work?

Vold Vision’s Bright Futures team uses state-of-the-art technology to evaluate your child’s eyes and develop a customized, non-invasive treatment plan for your child. Our non-surgical treatments are comprised of specialty contact lenses and prescription eye drops. During your child’s initial appointment, Dr. Emma Holden, Vold Vision pediatric optometrist, will outline the best treatment plan for your child. 

Ortho-K or orthokeratology lenses are worn only during sleeping hours to gently reshape the “front surface” of the eye during sleep, giving patients “LASIK-like” results during the day. Along with slowing myopia progression, patients will no longer need glasses or regular contacts during waking hours.

Worn during waking hours, daily disposable MiSight Contact Lenses are daily, soft, bifocal contacts. This technology utilizes treatment zones to remove strain from the retina, reducing myopia progression and providing comfortable, clear vision. 

The MiSight App makes reordering contacts easy by providing reminders for when your child is about to be out of contacts and easy, single-button ordering. 

Used once daily before bedtime, compounded atropine eye drops are an excellent treatment option for our younger patients or with other myopia management treatments. With atropine drops, your child may still rely on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly during the day. Atropine drops are a wonderful solution to slowing the progression rate of younger children’s myopia.

What are the Benefits of Pediatric Eye Care?

Pediatric eye care catches various eye problems before they can hinder your child’s learning and slow the progression of long-term vision problems. Some of the conditions treated through pediatric eye care include: 

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  • Eye crossing (strabismus)
  • Eye movement disorders (nystagmus)
  • Vision impairment due to Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and cortical blindness
  • Photorefraction and screening for amblyopia
  • Retinopathy of prematurity, retinal malformations, retinoblastoma, and optic nerve disorders
  • Cataracts and glaucoma
  • Drooping or misshapen eyelids and hemangiomas
  • Tear duct disorders
  • Orbital infections and tumors
  • Conditions of eye movements and double vision

Furthermore, pediatric eye care can improve learning, prevent long-term vision problems, and vision loss from an injury or accident, and help children and teens with allergies, diabetes, or conditions like lazy eye or pink eye. At Vold Vision, our InfantSEE Program provides infant exams from birth to age one, allowing you to ensure healthy eyes for your infant free of charge. 

How Long is the Recovery after Pediatric Eye Care?

If a child is diagnosed with an optical condition, the doctor will create a custom treatment plan based on the child’s unique needs. Parents should continue to schedule regular eye exams every two years or as their doctor recommends. Once children start school, annual eye exams should be scheduled to prevent learning disabilities and catch developing eye issues.

It’s also essential to have regular eye exams and a relationship with an eye doctor in case of accidents, injuries, and emergencies. Parents can also help their child’s vision with age-appropriate time limits, and frequent screen breaks to prevent computer vision syndrome (CVS), which causes problems with vision, dry eyes, headaches, and more. 

Learn More About Pediatric Eye Care

Why Should I Go to Vold Vision for Pediatrics?

Providing the most advanced diagnostic consultations and medical and surgical management of children’s eye disorders, Dr. Napier & Dr. Holden understand the unique needs of caring for children and their families. 

Together they have expertise in a range of areas, including but not limited to: weak eye muscles, crossed or wandering eyes, eye infections, eye injuries, visual processing disorders, cataracts, glaucoma, neurological diseases, and the diagnosis of problems of the eye caused by conditions such as diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

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Dr. Emma Holden is a board-certified optometric physician and one of the country’s first doctors to provide a comprehensive, customized approach to treating myopia. Dr. Sharon Napier is Northwest Arkansas’ first and only fellowship-trained pediatric ophthalmologist. From premature babies to teenagers, our doctors provide first-class care to more than 200,000 children in the region. 

Take the Next Step

To learn more about pediatric eye care, schedule a consultation with one of the providers at Vold Vision. To schedule a consultation, fill out the consultation request form below, or call (479) 442-8653.