Many parents take their children to the same doctor they see. The testing for adults, however, is different than for children. For adults, the routine exam will include vision and eye health testing. For children, this does not give adequate information for testing of the predominant sense in learning (estimated that up to 80% of what a child learns is through the visual system. It is important, then, to make sure the doctor examining your child has the training and experience in examining children.
- These skills develop gradually over several years, and are typically fully developed by about 8 years of age. The American Public Health Association as well as the American Optometric Association (“Optometric Clinical Practice Guideline on Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination”) “recommend exams at ages of 6 months, 3 years, and before 1st grade, unless a more frequent schedule is recommended.”
- A significant number of treatable eye conditions (e.g., lazy eye, uncorrected farisghtedness or nearsightedness), with frequency ranging from 2% to 6% of the pediatric population, can be identified and treated early through a comprehensive eye exam. These findings are often subtle in the early stages, and therefore might be missed during a well-visit at the pediatrician, or during a school screening. Nonetheless, early intervention is the key to successful treatment.
- As parents, we appropriately take out children to the dentists, in spite of the fact that they are going to lose most of their teeth in their early years. Yet for the predominant sense in learning, we wait until there is an obvious problem before seeking help.
- Testing for children includes checking for possible eyeglass prescriptions and eye health issues, but also includes testing important school-related vision skills such as:
- Eye coordination
- Eye teaming
There is no better time to monitor this development than before the age of one year of age. Dr. Cohen is a participant in the American Optometric Asscoiation’s national “InfantSee” program. Former President Jimmy Carter is the national spokeperson of this program that provides eye exams to children under the age of one, without any cost to the your family, health insurance carrier, or to the government, and is not based upon financial need. The “InfantSee” program helps families get in the pattern of regular eye exams, while identifying, as early as possible, potential vision obstacles to development and learning.
- For additional information, you can link to the program’s website at www.infantsee.org.
SPECIAL NEEDS TESTING
Dr. Cohen is trained to provide care for children with special needs. He has been a resource doctor for the “Southwest Autism Research Center” for several years, and has cared for autistic children and adults. He also has many patients with “Down’s Syndrome” and other special needs. By offering a warm, friendly, non-invasive environment, these patients’s needs are met comfortably and pleasantly.