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Why Children Need an Optometrist’s Eye Exam


“The pediatrician checks my daughter’s eyes every year and says she is fine, but the teacher says she is having trouble in class.”

While we wholeheartedly support the pediatrician and his efforts to evaluate your child’s vision, there are elements to a child’s vision that may not be apparent to the pediatrician that will greatly affect how your child is able to use their eyes.  This may lead to learning difficulties and reduced self esteem.

1.  Latent hyperopia:  Due to excessive focussing, a child may be able to focus intensely for a few seconds to read an eye chart.  This ability does not accurately reflect how a child’s eyes may fatigue in the classroom after several minutes of changing focus from the board to their desktop and back.

2.  Eye alignment:  a parent or a pediatrician may not see what we see in the exam room.  Through expert testing, we may observe that a child’s eyes cross excessively while reading only, which renders consequences such as reduced reading comprehension and headaches.

3.  Saccadic eye movement:  a child may undershoot while making eye movements across the page during reading.  This can cause a child to skip letters or words and lead to inefficient vision skills required for reading.

The good news is that a number of new and innovative lens designs have been created which can be very effective.  Additionally, vision training has come a long way, and there are now strong diagnostic methods and training methods which can help your child overcome their vision problems. 

At 20/20 Vision Associates Optometry, we love kids, and we want to help.  Schedule now with Dr. Mallory Kennedy for your child’s next eye examination!

Written by Dr. Cheryl Everitt

Cheryl M. Everitt, OD, received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California in 1994. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Everitt takes a special interest in treating patients with a variety of difficult eye conditions, such as chronic headaches and migraines. Dr. Everitt has been a conference speaker on topics ranging from contact lenses to practice management to trigeminal dysphoria. She has also participated in a mobile eye clinic in Riverside, and medical missions to Mexico. Dr. Everitt is one of the original founders of 20/20 Vision Associates Optometry and has practiced for 25 years. She was an associate research scientist for 4 years prior to becoming an optometrist. She is also an active member of her church.
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