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A Letter to Parents: What to Expect at your Child’s Eye Exam

If you’ve never had your child’s eyes examined or it’s been a while, EYEcenter’s own Dr. Meagan Herring wrote a letter to let you know what you can expect at your child’s next (or first) eye exam…

Dear Parent,

I know you are curious about your child’s first eye exam. Here is what will take place:

I will introduce myself as Dr. Herring, then welcome you and your child into my exam room. I’ll ask if you have any concerns regarding their eyes or vision that you’d like addressed today and we’ll chat about it for a few minutes.

I will ask about their eye and overall health history, including any medications, allergies. family medical and eye histories, so bring any old pairs of glasses they’ve worn in the past.

Then, we will discuss their developmental and educational milestones, as well as any daily habits including digital device use and amount of time spent doing near work.

I will also ask you whether they get enough water, sleep and outdoor play time, in addition to their nutritional patterns. It is my job as a primary care provider to inquire and discuss these aspects of your child’s health as they can each affect their visual system and overall eye health.

I will then begin with my assessment of their visual system by checking both near and far acuities and perform a few preliminary tests. These “games” include assessment of their eye movements, tracking patterns and natural postures, ability to focus, peripheral vision, pupillary assessment, color vision and depth perception.

I may then perform what’s called an ‘objective refraction’ behind the phoropter depending on their age. You know the piece of equipment I’m referring to – the bulky, outer space-like contraption? The phoropter will be placed in front of your child’s face to determine whether a refractive error exists.

I will do this by shining a light from a black, rod-like instrument called a retinoscope in their eyes while turning dials on the phoropter, all the while encouraging your child to sit still and stare at a large letter on a screen across the room.

Your child can sit still, right?

That’s when the fun begins. Depending on how active your child is, my time is limited or I will lose their attention and focus. I also get to decode what your child’s responses mean as I present lens options to them, while encouraging them further down the eye chart to the 20/20 line, (which, by the way, refers to what an average person sees at 20 feet as being the same size object that your child can see at 20 feet.)

By then, I will have a pretty good idea of whether or not your child may need glasses.

Up next, I will assess their binocular vision status, (how well their eyes work together), through the phoropter. Did you know that some children’s difficulties in school can be attributed to poor vision or eye teaming skills?

I will then move on to the health evaluation part of the exam and look at their eyes under a giant microscope called a slit lamp. I can tell identify any ocular allergies, blepharitis or dry eyes. I may need your help holding their head firmly in place and can even show you their eyes through the slit lamp if you are interested.

Dilation of their pupils comes next, and I will do this by gently instilling drops into their eyes. Don’t worry, I have a few tricks up my sleeve, including ‘magic drops’ and the ‘closed eye’ method. They don’t hurt but will make their eyes feel numb for a few minutes and blurry for a few hours after the exam.

Oh, and please don’t ask if this is necessary because they have soccer practice right after the exam or you will probably have to bring them back to finish their exam. Although I am a fan of the retinal photos you had taken at the beginning of the exam, they do not substitute the dilation, in your child’s case. This is because I perform a stronger dilation (aka cycloplegic dilation) necessary for me to fully assess their visual system and finalize their prescription.

You may choose to wait in the waiting area, or try on frames while your child’s eyes dilate. I will call him or her back in 15-20 minutes.

After your child’s eyes are blurry and the pupils are the size of dimes, it’s time for part 2 of the exam, where I will repeat the “better 1, or 2?” test.

I will then have the data I need to recommend or not to recommend glasses, patching or vision therapy.

Onto the final health assessment, where I will take one last look through the giant microscope at the back of their eyes with a small lens. I am not expecting to find anything, but am trained to look for congenital abnormalities, retinal holes or tears and cancerous tumors. I finalize this part with a larger lens and a science-y looking contraption on my head. Very fancy.

And that will conclude your child’s total eye check. I will go over any treatment recommendations and we will discuss any questions you have before making their personalized eye care plan.

Of course, we save the best for last as your child will receive a pair of ever-fashionable, disposable dark-out shades as you leave. And maybe a sticker 😉

Thank you for entrusting me in the care of your child’s eye health.

Sincerely,

Dr. Meagan

Reproduced with permission originally published in https://www.mindfuloptometrist.com/post/a-letter-to-parents-what-to-expect-at-your-child-s-eye-exam

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Herring

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sacramento, California. Visit EYEcenter optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Are Contact Lenses Safe For Young Children?

Here’s a question we often get at our practice: ‘Is my child too young for contact lenses?’ This is an important question, and the answer may surprise you. 

For children with myopia (nearsightedness), contact lenses can be a convenient method of vision correction. It allows kids to go about their day without having to worry about breaking or misplacing their glasses, and enables them to freely participate in sports and other physical activities. 

Some children and young teens may ask their parents for contact lenses because they feel self-conscious wearing glasses. Contact lenses may even provide children with the confidence boost they need to come out of their shell. Moreover, these days, it is very popular for children to wear single-use one-day disposable soft contacts, since there is no cleaning or maintenance involved. 

Some parents may deny their child’s request for contacts due to concerns about eye health and safety. There’s no reason to worry: contact lenses are just as safe for children as they are for anyone else. 

At EYEcenter Optometric, we provide children, teens, and patients of all ages with a wide variety of contact lenses. If you’re concerned about the safety of contacts for your child, we’ll be happy to explain and explore ways to ensure maximum safety, optimal eye health and comfort. To learn more or to schedule a pediatric eye exam for contact lenses, contact us today. 

What Are the Risks of Having My Child Wear Contact Lenses?

A study published in the January 2021 issue of The Journal of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics found that kids aren’t at a higher risk of experiencing contact lens complications. 

The study followed nearly 1000 children aged 8-16 over the course of 1.5-3 years to determine how contact lenses affected their eye health. 

The results indicate that age doesn’t have an effect on contact lens safety. In fact, the researchers found that the risk of developing infections or other adverse reactions was less than 1% per year of wear — which is comparable to contact lens wearers of other ages.

But before you decide that contact lenses are right for your child, you may want to consider whether your child is ready to wear them. During his or her eye doctor’s appointment, the optometrist may ask about your child’s level of maturity, responsibility, and personal hygiene. Since many children are highly motivated to wear contacts, they tend to display real maturity in caring for their lenses. That said, in the initial stages, parents may need to play an active role, as their child gets used to inserting and removing the new contact lenses.  

It’s important to note that just as with any other medical device, contact lenses are not risk-free. Anyone who wears contact lenses has a chance of developing eye infections or other complications with contact lenses. However, when worn and cared for according to your eye doctor’s instructions, contact lenses are low-risk and perfectly safe for children and teenagers.

So, go ahead and bring your child in for a contact lens consultation! We’ll help determine if your child is ready for contacts and answer any questions you or your child may have. To schedule your child’s contact lens fitting or eye exam, contact EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights today.  

Is Your Child Struggling With Reading?
We Can Help!

For your child to succeed in school, reading and writing skills are necessary. Proper vision development and visual processing skills are critical. It is aFather (wearing eyeglasses) and Daughter, reading a book well-established fact that poor vision can affect learning in a number of ways. Vision issues will make it hard for your child to focus on school work; poor vision can mean poor hand-eye coordination; reading comprehension and vision go hand in hand; and poor vision can affect your child’s confidence.

Is your child struggling with reading? If so, it can be due to a vision problem. It’s important for you to address this to help your child and set him/her on the path to succeed at school and in life.

What Does The Screening Result Say?

It is believed that at least 1 in every 10 school children has vision problems that can undermine their academic performance. In most schools, the solution to assess vision is to provide vision screenings. However, these screenings often miss critical visual skills that cause parents and teachers to overlook the underlying cause of the problem.

The traditional “20/20” vision screening administered to children at school and pediatrician’s offices only assesses how well your child sees at a distance. More than 50% of the serious vision problems that affect children are not diagnosed by a standard vision screening. Even if your child has 20/20 vision, he/she may still have difficulty reading due to other visual issues that are not detected through a vision screening.

Reading Requires Several Visual Skills

Reading is a complex task that requires 7 of the 17 vital visual skills. Here is a highlight of what we do when we are reading:

  • When we aim two eyes at the same point simultaneously and accurately, we use: Skill #1 Eye Movement Control, Skill #8 Simultaneous Alignment at Near and Skill #9 Sustaining Alignment at Near.
  • When we focus both eyes to make the reading material clear, we use: Skill #4 Simultaneous Focus at Near and Skill #10 Central Vision (Visual Acuity).
  • When we continue to sustain clear focus, we use: Skill #5 Sustaining Focus at Near.
  • When we move two eyes continually as a coordinated team across the line of print, we use: Skill #1 Eye Movement Control, Skill #9 Sustaining Alignment at Near and Skill #15 Fine Visual-Motor.

As you can see, even if a vision screening shows that your child has 20/20 vision, there are so many other reasons he or she may have difficulty reading. Any problem that interferes with any of the vision skills mentioned above can make it difficult for your child to read.

Have Your Child's Vision Evaluated, Today!

Vision-related learning problems can cause your child tremendous difficulty at school. This will in turn affect the child’s ability to develop important Little girl having eye examfoundational skills. The earlier a visual processing issue is detected, the easier it is to treat and the sooner your child will have the skills needed to continue on a path of success.

Schedule a developmental eye exam for your child today at EYEcenter Optometric. Our developmental eye exam remains the most viable way to detect any problem that can affect reading and ensure that your child’s vision will enable him or her to succeed.

Our qualified and experienced optometrists are available to speak with you and discuss your options. We use state-of-the-art equipment and assessments to examine your child’s vision and eyes and if an issue is detected, we will recommend the best possible treatment available. We serve patients all over Sacramento.

Don’t delay in getting your child the help they need! Schedule your developmental eye exam today!

 

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Fun Home-Based Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Vision

crayons coloringAlthough 20/20 clarity is important, it’s not enough. You see, the visual system is made up of the eyes and the brain — and it’s how these two parts work together that makes all the difference. When your eyes and brain don’t communicate with each other properly, you may experience decreased reading comprehension, disorientation, lack of focus, and decreased cognitive abilities.

Strong visual skills are essential for learning and performing well in school and in sports. These include:

  • Fixation: The ability to fixate or hold your gaze on a target for an extended period.
  • Pursuit: The ability to follow a moving target as you would follow a tennis ball.
  • Saccade: The ability to rapidly shift focus between targets, such as moving from word to word while reading.
  • Accommodation: The ability to shift focus between distant to near objects (and vice versa), such as looking at the board and then writing notes in your notebook.
  • Binocularity: Using both eyes simultaneously.

If any of the above vision skills are deficient, your child may have difficulty paying attention, experience fatigue, exhibit behavioral problems, rub their eyes while reading, or use their finger to follow each word in a text. Furthermore, your child may appear to be performing well below their potential, and their writing may be messy despite having good fine motor skills. If your child has been diagnosed with reduced visual skills, why not continue to develop these skills at home? There are several activities that parents and caretakers can do during this time to help kids improve their vision.

At-Home Vision Exercises

Below are some ways you can help kids develop healthy vision from the comfort of their home.

Reading, Mazes, Puzzles and Writing — tracking

Visual tracking is made up of two skills: moving your eyes between targets (also called “saccades”), and following moving targets (called “pursuits”). We all make use of these basic skills every time we read, write, draw, drive, or do sports. Problems with tracking are manifested when we frequently lose our place while reading, or skim over words without processing them. Increasing the amount of time your child assembles puzzles, draws, and reads will improve their visual tracking.

Focusing on Static Targets — focus and depth perception

Focusing problems refer to the inability to sustain focus on a single point, or to easily switch between two targets (near and far, for example). One exercise is to hold a crayon or pen in front of your child and have them focus on it. Slowly move the pen closer to their eyes, and then away again. This develops focus and depth perception.

Alphabet Ball — fixation, binocularity, pursuits

With a permanent marker, draw letters, animals or colors on a ball or balloon. As you roll or toss the ball/balloon, ask your child to call out the last thing they noticed before catching it.

Near-Far Tasks — accommodation

Children are often required to alternate between near and far objects, such as when looking at their notebook and then at the blackboard, and back again. Have your child sit at a table and draw the shapes you have sketched on a piece of paper and hung on a nearby wall. The motion of looking from a near point to far point will help improve accommodation skills.

Pencil Movement — fixation

Ask your child to find a colored crayon they plan to use for drawing. But before they begin drawing, slowly move it in figure 8’s — horizontal, vertical, and circular motions in front of them — while having them follow it with their eyes. Doing this 5 minutes a day is an excellent way to improve fixation.

From all of us at Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we wish you and your family a safe and healthy few months ahead.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

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Building Your Child’s Confidence Through Vision Therapy

girl in blue t shirt reading book 3755619We all know that success tends to be accompanied by confidence. However, because children with visual dysfunctions struggle to perform daily tasks, whether academic or otherwise, their confidence is adversely affected. For example, a 7-year-old child struggling to read will likely refuse to read aloud in the classroom in order to hide his or her challenge. This problem may result in poor grades and the inability to keep up with the class. Over time, this could cause the child to become frustrated and have a negative self-image, leading the child to see him or herself as a “failure”.

It’s quite common for reading struggles and other school-related endeavors to be attributed to a learning disability, when in fact, the child may have undetected poor visual skills. Basic vision screenings do not assess visual skills and won’t catch functional vision problems, such as poor eye teaming, poor focus, or how the eyes move while reading. Only a functional eye exam can determine whether a child is struggling with visual difficulties and assess whether vision therapy can help develop and improve these skills. It’s important to note that even a child with 20/20 vision can have a visual dysfunction that interferes with learning.

Vision therapy helps thousands of children a year. The vision therapy program offered at Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric can help your child by retraining the brain and eyes to work in unison — offering them their best chance at success.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy (VT) is a progressive treatment program made up of a variety of eye exercises, personalized to fit the needs of each child. The goal of vision therapy is to develop or enhance fundamental visual skills and abilities while increasing visual comfort and processing. Each treatment session takes place at the office once or twice a week under the supervision of Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes.

To further support in-office treatment and accelerate progress, certain visual exercises are expected to be performed at home on a regular basis.

VT has been proven to improve the following eye conditions:

  • Ambylopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (eye turn)
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Focusing/accommodative disorders
  • Visual-Perceptual difficulties
  • Eye movement problems
  • Visual disorders resulting from brain injury

As part of the therapeutic process, vision therapists turn to various tools, such as specialized lenses, prisms, patches, filters, balance boards, and digital simulations.

Building confidence through vision therapy from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Improved Vision Can Impact Confidence Levels

At the risk of sounding cliche, vision therapy can change lives — especially in children whose vision problems are at the root of academic or other vision-related struggles. Children who once experienced difficulty reading or playing certain sports due to vision problems will now have the skills needed to excel in those areas, leading to improved self-confidence and a feeling of competence.

When simple tasks become obstacles, children may become frustrated, or even angry. For this reason, VT also assists with behavioral issues. Once these daily tasks become easier to perform, episodes of frustration diminish in frequency.

Improving a child’s visual skills with VT allows them to become better learners, and helps them achieve their academic goals. In fact, VT can be a key component in preparing a child for higher education, as increased success can develop a greater belief in one’s abilities. This newfound confidence will inevitably trickle into other areas positively impacting the quality of life and achievements.

With vision therapy, schoolwork, sports, and other daily activities that were once challenging become easier.

The trained visual skills developed through vision therapy empowers the child and shows them that they, too, can succeed. Don’t let poor visual skills hinder your child or yourself from accomplishing goals. Speak with Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes to discover how vision therapy can unlock your or your child’s hidden potential. Call Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric today.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometricprovides vision therapy and other services to patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .


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Why a New Pair of Glasses Is NOT the Best Holiday Gift for Your Child

girl hugging her present 3154363If your child is nearsighted (myopic), it may seem like a great idea to get him or her a new pair of glasses. They will surely improve how well your child sees but, unfortunately, will do nothing to slow myopia progression. You can offer your child MUCH more than a pair of specs — something that will ensure long term vision health care and quality of life: Myopia Management.

Myopia Management is made up of several treatments designed to slow down how quickly myopia, or shortsightedness, progresses. In other words, their prescription will remain the same as they grow older. The treatments include uniquely designed multifocal contact lenses, atropine eye drops, and orthokeratology (“ortho-k”). Evidence suggests that myopia management can reduce the progression of myopia by up to 60% after two years of treatment.

What Makes Myopia Management An Excellent Gift?

Currently, myopia is among the leading causes of permanent vision loss and legal blindness.

As a child quickly develops and their nearsighted vision worsens, the child is at a higher risk of developing dangerous eye diseases later in life, such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.

To thwart any of these sight-robbing conditions, Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric offers evidence-based treatment to prevent the onset or reduce the progression of myopia in our pediatric patients.

Myopia management enables your child to experience a more mild form of myopia than he or she would have otherwise had without treatment. Having mild-degree myopia means that your child’s likelihood of developing retinal detachment or macular degeneration is dramatically reduced.

So why don’t you make this holiday gift a particularly special one by protecting your child’s precious gift of sight. And the best part? It will pay off well after the holidays are over.

On behalf of Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. and the staff at Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric in Sacramento, we’d like to wish you all the best for the holiday season and the New Year!



Does Your Child Have Myopia? Send Them Outside!

Girl Smiling Grass Flower blog imageMyopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that affects millions of adults and children worldwide. This condition occurs when a person’s eyeball is too long, or the cornea or lens has an irregular shape. A myopic eye focuses the image at the front of the retina, as opposed to directly on the retina. it is often hereditary, especially if both parents are nearsighted.

Recent studies show that the more time spent outdoors can slow the onset or progression of myopia for reasons explained below. These findings are significant, as myopia can seriously impact eye health if left untreated. At Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we’re here to answer any questions you may have and ensure that your child’s myopia is under control.

How Does Spending Time Outdoors Benefit Myopia?

By spending time outdoors, children train their eyes to focus on distant objects and relax their eyes. Just as with any other muscle in the body, the muscles in the eye need to be trained and strengthened in order to produce clear vision. Experts further suggest that moderate exposure to sunlight has a positive impact on myopia and general eye health.

A recent study was conducted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science. The study shows that children who spend 1 extra hour outdoors each week reduce their risk of developing myopia by over 14%.

In contrast, according to the National Institute of Health, children who spend a considerable amount of time indoors watching TV or playing video games are at a significantly higher risk of developing nearsightedness.

Outdoor time should be incorporated into every child’s routine, especially those at risk of developing myopia. Parents and caregivers can make being outdoors fun by playing sports, hiking new trails, enjoying picnics or barbeques, or organizing scavenger hunts.

Why Is Slowing Myopia Progression So Important?

Myopia generally worsens over time, mostly during childhood and into the adolescent years. If your child’s prescription regularly increases, this can lead to more serious complications. Myopia progression heightens the risk of developing other eye conditions and disorders, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment. In more severe cases, permanent vision loss — or even blindness— may occur.

This is why it is crucial to monitor your child’s condition with a yearly visit to Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D.. Not sure whether your child has myopia? Refer to the following list.

Signs of Myopia in Children

Children with myopia may exhibit any of the following:

  • Squinting when reading the board or watching TV
  • Lack of interest in playing sports that require distance vision
  • Positioning oneself at close proximity to the TV or screen
  • Sitting at the front of the classroom to clearly see the teacher and board
  • Holding books close to the eyes

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or if you’ve noticed some of these behaviors, give outdoor time a try and bring him or her in to Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric for a comprehensive eye exam. We offer evidence-based myopia management treatment to slow down the progression of nearsightedness, thus preventing severe vision loss later in life.

Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric provides myopia management and other treatments to patients in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

REFERENCES:

Centre for Ocular Research & Education

National Institutes of Health



Are We Missing Dry Eye in Children?

Learn all about dry eye in the classroom

When you hear about dry eye syndrome, you probably envision either a senior citizen taking off his or her glasses to rub sore eyes, or a frantic middle-aged office worker who is glued to the computer 24/7. Most likely, a picture of kids in school does not pop into your head.

However, dry eye in the classroom has become a contemporary health problem – most of which can be traced back to the increasing use of computers and smartphones amongst the youngest population groups. At EYEcenter Optometric, our Citrus Heights, California , eye doctor sees many children who present with the annoying symptoms of dry eye. Learn more about how to prevent this condition from bothering your kids.

Dry eye in the classroom

In recent years, kids have been complaining about the same irritating symptoms of dry eye that older adults experience, such as:

  • Fluctuating blurry vision
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Burning or stinging
  • A feeling that something is stuck in their eyes
  • Tearing

During pediatric eye exams in our Citrus Heights, California , office, it is typical for kids to tell our optometrist that these bothersome symptoms get in the way of seeing the classroom board, reading, gazing at their computer screens, or texting on their smartphone.

The link to blinking

A primary reason that dryeye in the classroom is on the rise has to do with modern methods of education and popular types of after-school recreation, which are mainly visual and involve digital screens. Classrooms are equipped with computers for learning, and once the bell rings – many kids head home to spend their afternoons gaming or texting with friends, activities which all contribute substantially to the amount of daily screen exposure.

As kids spend more time staring at screens, they spend more time concentrating without blinking – or only blinking partially, which doesn’t moisturize the eyes fully. And when the rate of blinking goes down, the rate at which tears evaporate goes up – leading directly to dry eye.

Ways to help prevent dry eye in kids

  • Encourage your child to take frequent breaks when he or she watches TV, uses a computer, or reads
  • Make sure your child avoids smoke and other irritants in the air
  • Fit your child with a pair of wraparound sunglasses to protect against the sun and wind
  • Install a humidifier in your child’s room
  • If kids wear contact lenses, they should carry around a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears for lubricating their eyes, or wear glasses when they have dry eye symptoms
  • Limit screen time; a 2016 Korean study published in the journal BMC Ophthalmology found that when kids stopped using their smartphone for about four weeks, their dry eye symptoms improved significantly

Schedule your child for regular eye exams with our Citrus Heights, California , eye doctor. The earlier dry eye syndrome is detected, the easier it can be treated with the right education and intervention.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Harm the Visual System — And Self Esteem

The Alarming Increase and Incidence of Myopia

Warm Compresses Can Relieve Dry Eye

FOLLOW US:

Are Kids and Contact Lenses a Good Combination?

Is it safe and healthy for kids to wear contact lenses?

Many parents are uncertain about whether kids are good candidates for wearing contact lenses or not. The general answer is that yes, many children can safely and successfully wear contacts. However, it depends largely on the maturity and personality of the child, and not necessarily on age.

At EYEcenter Optometric, our Citrus Heights, California , eye doctor evaluates each child with a personalized eye exam and consultation to determine their suitability for contact lenses. The following issues must all be considered:

When can kids start wearing contact lenses?

Age is not the main determinant for when kids can start with contacts. Sometimes, young children – as young as eight years old – can wear lenses, but older teenagers cannot. The outcome depends largely upon your child’s level of responsibility. Some questions that parents should ask themselves include:

  • Does your child complete chores and homework without constant reminders?
  • Will he or she follow our eye doctor’s instructions for proper care of contact lenses?
  • Will your child be able to keep track of when it’s time to switch to a fresh pair of lenses?
  • Will he or she remember to remove the contact lenses before falling asleep for the night?

What type of contact lenses are best for kids?

Our Citrus Heights, California , eye doctor frequently recommends daily disposable soft contact lenses for children of all ages. Care is simpler, as these lenses can be thrown out regularly with no need to disinfect them. To preserve the lasting health of your child’s eyes, we only recommend high-quality, premium contact lenses from brand-name manufacturers. Cheaper types of contacts are linked with a higher chance of eye infection and injury. Don’t ever buy knock-off labels from inexpensive beauty stores or online shops!

What are the advantages of contact lenses for children?

If your child plays sports, contacts can be a superior form of vision correction. Even if your child’s eyeglasses are constructed with durable polycarbonate, the frames can break and lead to eye injury. A better solution can be to wear safety goggles over contact lenses. Not only is this combination safer, but it also offers wider peripheral vision.

Contact lenses can also boost self-esteem for kids who are insecure about their appearance in glasses. Studies have shown that lenses can help shy kids break free and socialize with more confidence.

An additional benefit of contact lenses is that they cannot be easily misplaced, forgotten about, or lost – like glasses tend to be!

What’s important to teach kids who are starting to wear contact lenses?

We encourage parents to remind their young children and teens that being negligent with contact lenses hygiene can be dangerous. When lenses aren’t cared for properly, they can lead to serious sight-threatening eye infections. At our Citrus Heights, California , eye care center, we will take the time to teach your child the correct ways to handle, disinfect, and store contact lenses.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

Your Eyes Can’t Focus? It Could Be Dry Eye!

How Do I Care for My Contact Lenses Properly?

When Routine Eye Exams Return 

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Is School Work Causing Computer Vision Syndrome in Your Child?

Eye health tips for students from our Citrus Heights eye doctor

The start of fall means back-to-school for kids of all ages – and our team at EYEcenter Optometric wishes everyone a smooth and successful return to the classroom!

When your child enters school after a summer of outdoor fun, many of the summer’s vision hazards are left behind. Yet, that doesn’t mean all eye health risks are eliminated! Nowadays, the majority of learning is computer based – exposing students’ eyes to the pain and dangers of blue light and computer vision syndrome. Fortunately, a variety of helpful devices and smartphone apps are available to block blue light and keep your child’s vision safe and comfortable.

To help you safeguard your child’s vision for the upcoming semesters and the long term of life, our Citrus Heights optometrist explains all about computer vision syndrome and how to prevent it.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome

It’s smart to familiarize yourself with the signs of computer vision syndrome. If your child complains about any of these common symptoms, you can help prevent any lasting vision damage by booking an eye exam with our Citrus Heights eye doctor near you:

  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes, due to reduced blinking
  • Headaches

Basics of blue light

Students spend endless hours in front of digital screens, be it a computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone. There is homework to be done, research to be conducted, texting with friends, and movies and gaming during downtime. All of this screen time exposes your child’s eyes to blue light.

Many research studies have demonstrated that flickering blue light – the shortest, highest-energy wavelength of visible light – can lead to tired eyes, headaches, and blurry vision. Additionally, blue light can disrupt the sleep/wake cycle, causing sleep deprivation and all the physical and mental health problems associated with it. As for your child’s future eye health, blue light may also be linked to the later development of macular degeneration and retinal damage.

How to avoid computer vision syndrome

Our Citrus Heights eye doctor shares the following ways to block blue light and protect against computer vision syndrome:

  • Computer glasses, eyeglasses lenses treated with a blue-light blocking coating, and contact lenses with built-in blue light protection are all effective ways to optimize visual comfort when working in front of a screen. These optics reduce eye strain and prevent hazardous blue-light radiation from entering the eyes.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule; pause every 20 minutes to gaze at an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple behavior gives eyes a chance to rest from the intensity of the computer or smartphone screen, preventing eye fatigue.
  • Prescription glasses can be helpful when using a computer for long periods – even for students who don’t generally need prescription eyewear. A weak prescription can take the stress off of your child’s eyes, decreasing fatigue and increasing their ability to concentrate. Our Citrus Heights optometrist will perform a personalized eye exam to determine the most suitable prescription.
  • Moisturize vision with eye drops. One of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome is dry eyes, namely because people forget to blink frequently enough. Equip your child with a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears eye drops (available over the counter) and remind them to blink!
  • Blue light filters can be installed on a computer, smartphone, and all digital screens to minimize exposure to blue. A range of helpful free apps are also available for download.
  • Limit screen time for your child each day, or encourage breaks at least once an hour. Typically, the degree of discomfort from computer vision syndrome is in direct proportion with the amount of time your child spends viewing digital screens.
  • Set the proper screen distance. Younger children (elementary school) should view their computer at a half-arm’s length away from their eyes, just below eye level. Kids in middle school and high school should sit about 20 – 28 inches from the screen, with the top of the screen at eye level.

For additional info, book a consultation and eye exam at EYEcenter Optometric

When you and your child meet with our Citrus Heights eye doctor, we’ll ask questions about your child’s school and study habits to provide customized recommendations on the most effective ways to stay safe from computer vision syndrome and blue light. Our optometrist stays up-to-date with the latest optic technologies and methods to prevent painful vision and eye health damage from using a computer, so you can depend on us for contemporary, progressive treatment.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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