While the eyes are often referred to as the "windows to the soul," they may also offer a peek at a child's future.
In a new video from Akron Children’s Hospital, Richard Hertle, MD, director of pediatric ophthalmology, notes that eye exams starting at an early age can be critical to a child's proper growth and development.
Eye exams typically begin at birth while the baby is still in the hospital nursery and continue with “well child” visits to the pediatrician. Many schools offer routine hearing and eye exams to students.
“It’s important for parents to observe their children, as they naturally do,” said Dr. Hertle. “Issues that are a tip-off to bringing the child in to see an eye specialist are excessive blinking, light sensitivity, persistent redness, tearing or drainage, and delayed ability to make eye contact.”
As a pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Hertle sees children who have failed an eye screening, have been referred from a primary care doctor, or have a family history of a vision disease or disorder. He also treats children who come to the hospital ER after suffering trauma to the eye.
Between 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 children require prescribed corrective glasses to correct a vision problem, such as nearsightedness, which is a difficulty in seeing distant objects.
Some of the common conditions Dr. Hertle treats at Akron Children’s Vision Center are congenital nystagmus ("dancing eyes"), retinopathy of prematurity, astigmatism, strabismus (crossed eyes), congenital glaucoma and ptosis (drooping eyelid).
Video focuses on importance of eye exams on a child's growth & development
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