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  • Keeping a close eye: Caring for Your Child’s Eyesight

    Know how to care for your little one’s windows to the world while he’s just beginning to see.
    by Lili Narvaez .
  • Read on to learn more about refractive errors and how to choose proper eyewear for your child.

     

    Let there be light
    The refractive errors nearsighted-ness or myopia, farsightedness or hyeropia, and astigmatism are the most common eye problems your child might have. These problems occur when there is trouble producing a clear image because of how the light enters and works inside the eye.
    •    If your child is nearsighted, he has longer eyeballs, as well as steeper corneas and lenses. These make him see things clear up close, but everything at a distance is blurry.
    •    If your child is farsighted, he has shorter eyeballs, as well as flatter corneas and lenses. These make him see things blurry up close, but everything at a distance is clear.
    •    If your child has astigmatism, the eyeballs are oval in shape. The images your child sees are sometimes tilted, blurry, or shadowy.

    Misalignments or strabismus are also common in children, especially since their eyes are still developing. Eyes either cross (esoptropia) or move opposite ways (exotropia) because sometimes, the strength of the eye muscles pulls in different directions when focusing. “He has to wear glasses to accommodate the need to control,” says Dr. Santiago.

    These problems with eyesight can be detected as early as your child’s sixth month. So do pay attention to your little one’s sense of sight. Bring him for regular eye checkups before the age of seven, as these are the years when crucial development occurs.


    Plastic makes perfect
    When it’s time to shop for your child’s glasses, keep in mind that there’s no stopping him from being the playful and energetic kid he is. And because of that, you have to provide him with eyewear that is safe, durable, and flexible.

    Doctors Villa and Santiago recommend that the frames of glasses for young children, as much as possible, must be made entirely of plastic. “Everything has to be flexible for safety,” says Dr. Villa. “If you get a frame that’s made from metal, this might even hit his eye. Plastic glasses are very comfortable for children.” If the budget allows, Dr. Santiago suggests you opt for glasses with polycarbonate lenses instead. “These are impact-resistant which are ideal for children.” If you can’t afford these special lenses,

    Dr. Santiago assures parents that the plastic ones are just as good.
    Contact lenses, according to both doctors are reserved for babies who had to undergo cataract surgery.
    Dr. Santiago advises that only those with a grade higher than 400 should start wearing contacts. “With contact lenses, you don’t have to worry about peripheral distortion, unlike with glasses.” It is up to you to decide whether your child is ready and responsible enough to wear contacts.

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    Click here to learn more about eyewear options and the truth behind popular eye myths.

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