Glasses can help even young children

Published On: Feb 13 2013 08:40:55 AM PST   Updated On: Feb 25 2013 08:10:42 AM PST

By Pure Matters

Doctors who specialize in children's eye care say kids usually become near- or farsighted between ages 6 and 12. But even infants can wear glasses if they need help to see well. Experts agree that all children should have an eye screening before they enter school.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that all infants and children be screened for vision problems. Any child who doesn't pass one of the screening tests below should be examined by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Screening guide

The AAO and AOA recommends these screenings:

Doctors can prescribe glasses -- even bifocals -- and contact lenses for premature infants and other children.

With strabismus, or crossed eyes, the eyes fail to focus on the same object or to converge in unison. Experts can spot this problem in children as young as 2 or 3 months.

Strabismus may cause reduced vision in the weaker eye, because the brain recognizes the image of the better-seeing eye and ignores the image of the weaker eye. Doctors treat the condition by putting a patch on the "good" eye to strengthen and improve vision in the weaker eye. If the condition is diagnosed when a child is young, treatment is usually successful. Surgery may also be used to make the eyes focus simultaneously on the same point. This is generally done if patching isn’t successful.

Signs of eye problems