3 Signs Your Child Might Have Strabismus

Strabismus occurs as the muscles around each eye fail to move together and focus on an object in the exact same way. Instead, the stronger eye may look at the target while the other goes in a different direction. If not detected and treated in the early stages, this condition can worsen and result in amblyopia, or lazy eye. Fortunately, you can watch for the following signs, and them schedule a visit to your trusted Riverdale vision center to get your child the care they need.

Focus Difficulties

Although not always noticeable, double vision may occur in the earliest stages of strabismus development. When that happens, you may spot your child having trouble focusing their eyes. They may get really close to the object before recognizing it or even seem to have poor depth perception as they move around.

Sideways Gaze

In order to compensate for their focus issues, many children will cock their head to the side while looking at a particular object. The sideways gaze may allow them to better focus their stronger eye and ignore the signals from the weaker one. If you look into your child’s eyes while they’re doing that, you will likely notice that their eyes do not fully aim in the same direction.

Frequent Headaches

The inability to see clearly can cause pounding headaches that occur on a daily basis. Before the headaches start up, your child may complain of tired, burning, or otherwise painful eyes, especially during periods of heavy focus. They may also feel generally worn out from all the extra effort it takes to focus their vision. Your child may nap more frequently as a result or even refuse to eat if the headaches leave them feeling a bit nauseated.

If you suspect your child has strabismus, it’s important to call 973-248-0060 to schedule a pediatric eye exam in Riverdale. Even without any these symptoms, your child can benefit from regular eye exams starting in infancy and continuing on the schedule created by their eye doctor. So, please feel free to call anytime to find a good time to come down and have your child’s eye health checked out.

4 Tips to Help Your Child Stop Losing Their Glasses

Many kids have a hard time keeping track of their glasses, but as a parent, there are many things you can do to help your child stop losing their glasses. By helping your child develop good habits with their glasses, you can avoid problems that can lead to a lost or broken pair. Below are some suggestions that we give to parents of young children who are learning to take care of their glasses.

1. Let Them Pick the Specs

Your child will be more invested in their glasses if they’re allowed to pick the pair. Don’t worry if the color isn’t your favorite, or if the shape of the glasses isn’t quite what you would choose. It’s better to get buy-in from your child! If you’re worried that your child will pick a pair of glasses you don’t quite like, narrow their choices to some you find acceptable and let them pick from there.

2. Encourage Them to Use a Case

Youth glasses can be easy to lose because they’re small. Glasses cases, on the other hand, are more likely to stand out in a room. Buy your child a glasses case that is as brightly colored as possible – and preferably glow in the dark! Encourage your child to use that case whenever their classes are off their face.

3. Put the Glasses on a Chain

If your child likes to take their glasses off for certain activities, put the glasses on a chain so they can be hung around your child’s neck. This way, they won’t be putting the glasses down where they might get lost.

4. Pick a Spot Where the Glasses “Live”

Have your child pick one spot, maybe in their room or in their bathroom, where they will always put their glasses down when they’ve been removed from their face. This way, your child will always know where to find their glasses when they’re looking for them.

Does Your Child Need Glasses? Start With An Appointment At Riverdale Vision Care

Before your child can get their first pair of glasses, they’ve got to start with an eye appointment and examination. Contact Riverdale Vision Care to make an appointment for a pediatric eye exam today.

Helping an Anxious Child Though Their Visual Health Checkup

Even though visiting the eye doctor is usually less intimidating to a child than visiting a dentist or even a general physician, some kids can still have a bit of anxiety about their visit. At Riverdale Vision Care, we strive to make sure every patient who visits us is as comfortable as possible, especially children. If you have an anxious child with some fears about visiting us, we’ve pulled together a few good tips that may help.

Consider scheduling your own appointment first.

Sometimes, kids can be scared of something simply because it is unfamiliar. If your child has apprehensions about visiting the eye doctor, schedule an appointment for yourself and bring them along. During the visit, the child will be introduced to the environment and see there is really nothing to fear.

Read books about visiting the eye doctor to your child.

Books are such a valuable way to expose children to new concepts and experiences in an imaginary way. Pick up a few children’s e-books about getting your eyes checked or check out some books at your local library. Sometimes, a little reading and introduction through imagery can go a long way to soothe the child’s apprehensions about their own visit.

Make the visit to the eye doctor an enjoyable experience.

Try to set aside a little extra time on the day of the visit to the eye doctor. Make plans for the day to be about doing something extra special after the appointment. For example, you could make it known that after the appointment, you will be getting ice cream, spending some time at the park, or even just swinging by a store to grab a special surprise. If your child has something to focus their attention on that they know will happen after their visit, this may help the appointment go more smoothly.

Find Professional Pediatric Eye Care in Riverdale, NJ

Helping your child see to the best they can is an important part of their overall development. If you have an anxious child who has fears of the eye doctor, be sure to reach out to the office and discuss your concerns. At the Riverdale Vision Center, we take great care of our pediatric patients by working to make them comfortable throughout their visit. If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss your child’s vision care needs, reach out to us today.

4 Tips For Protecting Your Child’s Vision

The gift of vision is something to be cherished and not taken for granted. Unfortunately, too often, people don’t realize how damaging certain habits can be to vision. Many conditions that lead to poor eyesight are preventable. Protecting vision should start at a young age. Here are some things that parents can do to protect their child’s vision.

1. Provide Adequate Lighting

Poor lighting causes eye strain, which can damage the eye. Since children’s eyes are still growing and developing, it’s especially important to make sure there is adequate lighting in the house for reading and other activities. For best results, provide at least one table lamp next to the bed for reading in bed. An overhead light is recommended to illuminate the play area in the bedroom. If your child reads in other parts of the home, such as the living room, be sure these have table lamps and overhead lights, too.

2. Teach Your Child to Hold Book Properly

Be sure your child isn’t reading with their book held too closely. While this may be a sign of poor vision, it’s often just a habit with young children that only means they don’t know how to hold a book properly. Take time to show them the correct distance 8-12 inches and then gently correct them if they fall back into old habits.

3. Get Regular Eye Exams

Your child’s school will likely have vision screening days where they try to find out if any of the students have vision problems. However, these are no substitute for the attention of a professional eye doctor. Be sure to bring your child in for regular eye exams. This will ensure that any problems get corrected as soon as possible, so the issues don’t worsen.

4. Have Children Wear Safety Goggles

If your child participates in any contact sports, be sure they wear safety goggles. Eye trauma is a leading cause of an assortment of preventable vision problems. Eye goggles protect the eyes if an accident happens.
These four tips are sure to help protect your child’s vision at home, at school, and on the sports field. For more tips about protecting your child’s vision, consult with your child’s eye doctor.

Why Your Child Needs a Back-to-School Eye Exam

Good vision is essential at any age, but it’s especially critical that your child sees well in school. Not only can vision problems affect your child’s school performance adversely, but they can impact your child’s safety, and their ability to play sports and interact in social situations. Getting your child a vision screening before or early during the school year can ensure your child gets the most out of school.

Nearly 2 out of 10 children have refractive errors, which are vision problems causing the child to have blurry vision. The most common refractive errors are:

  • Being nearsighted: Nearsighted means your child cannot has trouble seeing faraway objects clearly
  • Being farsighted: Farsightedness means your child has difficulty seeing objects up close.
  • Having astigmatism. With this vision problem, your child has trouble seeing both up close and far away.

Children with refractive errors need glasses. Without refractive vision correction, they are at risk for a lazy eye, or amblyopia, or even irreversible vision loss.

Classroom Issues Affected by Poor Vision

If your child has problems with their vision, they may have trouble seeing the chalkboard, overhead projections or computer screens well. This may inhibit their ability to grasp concepts and learn information in the classroom potentially leading to sub-standard school performance and delayed learning development.

Outside the Classroom Issues Affected by Poor Vision

Good vision is vital for your child to get the most out of their in-classroom school experience. But poor vision has other repercussions outside the classroom as well.

  • Sports and playground activities: Poor vision can lead to hand-eye coordination troubles and interfere with their ability to catch or kick a ball. If your child’s vision impacts their recreational performances, it could lead them to being picked last for team-based sporting activities.
  • Social life: Poor vision can lead to teasing or bullying if your child makes faces, such as squinting or tilting his or her head to see better, or misreads visual cues when talking with their friends.
  • Stress levels at home: You and your child could experience added stress at home if, for example, homework takes longer to complete.

Schedule Your Child’s Vision Screening Exam

Many parents don’t realize their child is having trouble seeing until their school performance, sports, or social interactions begin to suffer. The best way to ensure your child has healthy vision is to schedule a vision screening exam for your child. Make an appointment today at Riverdale Vision Care by calling 973-248-0060.

Is Your Child’s Vision Getting Worse?

children looking at tablets One question we hear so often in our office is, “Why does my child’s eye continue to get worse every year?” Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is a common disorder of the eye. It affects about one third of the population in the United States, and 90% of the population in Asian countries. The increase in myopia has become a major concern for parents as well as optometrists. Myopia is caused by light falling in front of the retina, instead of directly on the retina; this is due to the eye having a longer axial length. Progressive myopia can lead to an increase incidence of retinal detachments, maculopathy, choroidal degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Genetics plays a huge role in determining the amount of myopia a child will have, as well as their environment. Research shows that if one parent is nearsighted, then the child has two times the risk for developing myopia and if both parents are nearsighted, then the child has five times the risk. It has also been shown that strain put on the visual system from doing a lot of close work such as extensive reading or computer use can also cause myopia to worsen. Because of this, researchers suggest kids should spend more time outside and reduce time spent on computers, cell phones, and digital devices.

Because myopia has become an epidemic, a lot of research and studies are being done for myopia control. Slowing down the progression of myopia can be achieved by atropine therapy, multifocal contact lenses and Orthokeratology.

The most effective treatment option to control myopia is by Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K. Ortho-K is a non-surgical procedure that utilizes carefully designed rigid oxygen permeable contact lens that gently shapes the front of the eye, called the cornea, while sleeping. This corneal reshaping technology can reduce myopia and certain types of astigmatism. Extensive corneal mapping is performed to determine if someone is a good candidate for this treatment. The benefit of corneal reshaping technology is to reduce the need for glasses or contacts during the day and to help slow down the progression of myopia. The Ortho-K lenses are worn during sleep for at least 8 hours per night, gradually flattening the cornea thereby improving vision. They are removed in the morning and the effect of clear vision lasts throughout the day. This treatment option is recommended for kids as young as six up to their teens. This is the time period where a child’s prescription changes the most. Risks of infection are low, similar to soft contact lens worn with similar wearing schedules.

During your exam at Riverdale Vision Care, we not only prescribe and treat based upon your current visual needs, but we take a deeper approach and recommend treatment options that may reduce your risks for eye diseases in the future. Myopia control is so important since we’ve been seeing an increase in myopia due to more and more time in front of computer screens for personal and school use and less and less time playing outdoors. If you are concerned about your child’s vision and would like to learn more about Orthokeratology, please schedule an appointment by calling (973) 248-0060 or visit riverdalevisioncare.com. Your child’s future vision is in your hands.