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As babies, the eyes and vision develop over the first months and into the toddler years. As visual acuity Baby visionsharpens, your baby's world opens up with full color and sharpness. Your child is also developing visual skills and is actually learning how to see. As a preschooler, your child is now using her vision to learn.

A preschooler now needs to learn eye-hand-foot-body coordination, fine motor skills and the vision skills necessary to learn to read.

You can help in your preschooler's vision development by:

  1. Providing plenty of safe opportunities to climb, walk a balance beam and use other playground equipment.

  2. Reading aloud to your child. Let him or her see what you read and discuss the illustrations.

  3. Providing a chalkboard, finger paints, and blocks of all shapes and sizes.

  4. Allow time for interacting with other children and for playing alone.

1st Eye Doctor Visit:

Your child's first eye exam should be done by the age of 3 or less, unless you recognize an earlier need.

Choose an optometrist skilled with small children.

Check local optometric associations or state referral systems for names in your area.

The second exam should be done by age 5.

A Thorough Exam Should Test For:

Nearsightedness

Farsightedness

Astigmatism

Crossed-eyes (strabismus)

Lazy-eye (amblyopia)

Signs of Vision Problems:

Preschooler

Inability to sit still for a simple story

Difficulty expressing ideas with chalk or paint

A short attention span for the child's age

Poor performance in preschool setting

School Age

Squinting

Sitting very close to the television

Holding books very close to the eyes

Pulling at the eye corners when trying to view objects

Poor school performance

Headaches

Red, tired eyes

Difficulty in sports (i.e. poor eye-hand coordination or judgment of distance)

Protecting Your Child's Eyes:

Television and Video Games and Computers

Overall soft lighting while watching television

Place the TV to avoid glare and reflections

Watch TV from a distance of at least 5 times the width of the screen

Limit video game time

Play video games from as far a distance as the cord will allow

Place video screen at eye level

Limit computer time (because little hands cannot reach the keyboard or mouse without being very close to the monitor).

Injuries

Prohibit play with firecrackers, sparklers, darts, pea-shooters, sling shots and other missile-throwing toys (including those with rubber suction cups).

Keep younger children away from older kids and adults using these items.

Teach children never to run with sharp objects.

Do not allow children near adults using power tools, lawn mowers or household or yard chemicals.

Information provided in part by the American Optometric Association


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