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What Causes Bad Eyesight at a Young Age?

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A female preschooler in a red long-sleeve shirt with her eyeglasses is sitting in front of her laptop computer with a gesture on her face of having a hard time reading.

Maintaining your eye health is essential for all ages. No matter where you are in life, eye care begins with consistent eye exams with your optometrist. Building good vision care habits start from a young age, and kids can face different eye health and vision risks during their visual journey.

Let’s explore what can cause bad eyesight at a young age and how you can implement different prevention methods to help preserve long-term vision in your children. 

Preserving Vision from a Young Age

Adults aren’t the only ones who need consistent eye exams to monitor their eye health. Children can also have eye issues, even some that can put their long-term vision at risk. 

Vision issues like strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye) can develop early, and getting early treatment can make it easier for your children to get over these conditions and preserve their visual health. 

Your children undergo crucial vision development during their younger years. Reading, writing, and using computers are visual tasks they will perform daily. Their eyes are constantly discovering the world, and anything that interferes with their visual development must be addressed as soon as possible. 

In today’s digital world, your eyes are under more stress than ever. The prevalence of digital screens in our daily lives is well documented—from computer screens to phones, and we rely on digital devices in all facets of life.

It’s no different for children as they are developing crucial visual skills such as: 

  • Visual acuity
  • Eye focusing
  • Eye tracking
  • Eye teaming
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Visual perception

The good news is that your optometrist is well-equipped to address your children’s visual concerns through consistent eye exams. An eye exam allows your optometrist to monitor your child’s visual development and look for any changes or concerning trends.

Causes of Bad Eyesight

Knowing the causes of bad eyesight can help you work with your children to build good vision care habits that they can carry with them for a lifetime. 

Things like too much screen time can contribute to eye strain and stress out their eyes, weakening their vision. You can help by ensuring that they’re not spending too much time in front of the screen and giving their eyes necessary breaks.

A poor diet and a lack of sleep can also contribute to visual issues in your children. A good night of sleep is essential. Getting enough sleep gives your eyes time to rest and helps them to be continuously lubricated throughout the following day.

Regular eye exams can be even more important at a young age. Eye exams allow your optometrist to familiarize themselves with your child’s eyes and notice any developing issues or changes.

Speaking of eye exams, let’s explore how they can help keep your children’s eyes and vision healthy.

A female doctor with a flashlight in her right hand is examining the eye of a toddler.

How Consistent Eye Exams Help

You should bring your child in for their first eye exam by the time they are 1 year old. Following the initial exam, your optometrist can work with you to prepare a personalized exam schedule based on your child’s unique visual needs.

The following eye exam frequency is recommended for children: 

  • First exam at 6–12 months of age
  • At least 1 exam between 3–5 years of age
  • 1 exam before first grade and annually from ages 6–17

Eye exams present an opportunity for your optometrist to check for refractive errors like: 

During the exam, you’ll be asked questions about your child’s visual habits, and your optometrist will run gentle tests to check for vision problems. 

The tests consist of measuring refraction, binocular vision, and visual acuity. Following the exam, your optometrist will update their current glasses or contact lenses prescription if needed. 

An eye exam is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions or raise any concerns you may have about your child’s vision.

Vision Care Starts Early

Building good habits from a young age is crucial. Your children learn important visual skills that translate to the classroom, the playground, and other aspects of their lives. Consistent eye exams can help monitor your child’s visual development and help them enjoy clear, healthy vision for years to come. Book an appointment with your optometrist at Total Vision La Mesa to schedule your child’s next eye exam today.

Written by Total Vision

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