Laura Vasilakos, OD Development Optometrist
Laura Vasilakos, OD Development Optometrist

Developmental Vision Evaluation

Vision is more than 20/20.   The routine eye exam does not test all the 17 visual skills required for reading and learning.  Just because your child may have passed a pediatrician or school screening does not mean that your child has all the necessary visual skills for academic success.

80% of what we learn is obtained though our vision.

When your child struggles with reading and learning or is not achieving to their full potential, a Developmental Vision Evaluation is needed.   If your child is receiving special education services, make sure their vision is checked to determine if poor visual skills are not causing part, if not all, of their difficulties.

Does your child experience any of the following symptoms?

  •    Closes or covers one eye
  •    Sometimes sees double
  •    Frequently rubs eyes
  •    Reads for only a short time
  •    Poor reading comprehension
  •    Holds books/print very close
  •    Complains of blurred vision
  •    Often states that eyes are tired
  •    Complains of headaches when reading
  •    Moves head excessively when reading
  •    Loses place or skips lines when reading
  •    Uses finger to keep place when reading
  •    Short attention span

When should you bring your child in for a vision examination?

According to the American Optometric Association, your child should have her first exam between 6 months to 1 year of age. After that your child should have a vision examination at the age of 3. A general guideline is when your child has their first dental visit and/or their first haircut is also a time to schedule their first vision examination. After age 3, they should be seen yearly, or as recommended by Dr. Vasilakos.

Why should you bring in your child a pediatric eye examination?

Vision problems can interfere with your child’s overall development and academic performance. The sooner vision problems are identified and treated the better it is for your child. There is no substitute for a comprehensive eye examination. Vision screenings are just that, screenings. Typically vision screenings only identify about 5% of actual vision problems.

Only a comprehensive pediatric eye examination will provide you with a full evaluation of the health of your child’s eyes and vision. In addition, Dr. Vasilakos also evaluates how your child’s eyes function in real life – for example: looking in the distance, up close, shifting back and forth, reading, writing, riding a bike, etc.

As a Developmental Optometrist, if any problems are found Dr. Vasilakos can provide a variety of treatment options. For example: non-surgical treatment for eye turns, alternatives to patching for lazy eye, nearsightedness (myopia) control, as well as traditional glasses and contact lenses.

What types of vision problems are not detected by vision screenings?

Vision Screenings typically test how well your child can see the letters on the eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. Reading, writing, working on the computer all take place within about 18 inches from your child’s eyes. Our eyes are designed to work together in unison, when they don’t it can create difficulty with reading, comprehension, learning and overall development.

Specific vision problems that are missed by screenings can include, lazy eye (amblyopia), eye turn (strabismus), farsightedness (where your child can see far away but struggles or works hard to see up close), eye coordination and eye tracking problems.

Eye turns can be constant or occasional (intermittent), and they range in size – from not detectable to the untrained eye to very obvious.

What are signs that your child may have a vision problem?

First it is important to mention that children don’t know how they are supposed to see, and usually assume everyone sees the same way they do.  The way they show us they have a vision problems is with their behavior.  Therefore it is vital that parents know the signs of vision problems.

Most parents know the obvious signs – squinting, sitting too close to the TV, or looking too close to a book, but there are many other signs to watch for.

If your child complains of intermittent blurry vision, headaches, double vision, motion sickness or loss of concentration while reading, avoids reading, your child may have a vision problem.

Bring your child to Dr. Vasilakos for a comprehensive pediatric eye examination today by calling 781-829-9400.

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