An 11-month-old baby girl named Piper is taking the YouTube universe by storm with a video of her adorable reaction to putting on glasses for the first time.
It is “clear” by her big smile and complete look of astonishment that this was the first time she was seeing her mother and father.
The catalyst for taking the little girl to the eye doctor was that she wasn’t yet crawling. An astute pediatrician recommended she get her eyes checked. It ends up that Piper was extremely farsighted, and within weeks she was crawling like the best of them.
Although this is an extremely cute video, the message is all too sad. The fact of the matter is that 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-age children have vision problems.
Often times the problems are masked because the children will either compensate or feel that everyone sees the same way that they do. And most parents do not get their children’s eyes checked until the child is failing in school or until the child complains.
Thank goodness that in Piper’s case, she was delayed in crawling. Had she not been, it could have been a couple years before her parents had her eyes checked.
It seems like it is common sense that if a child is not seeing clearly it will impede his or her ability to learn. But what most people are not aware of is that vision problems are the fourth most prevalent cause of disability in the U.S. and one of the most prevalent conditions in childhood.
When 80 percent of what is learned comes through a child’s visual processing system, and when three out of four children are entering school without so much as a visual screening, there is a high incidence of not catching problems before they become problems.
A child’s eye exam should include, of course, a near and distance vision test; but more importantly, the eyes should be checked for binocularity skills, eye movement skills, focusing skills, peripheral awareness, and hand-eye coordination.
Often these skills are not checked with just routine screenings.
According to the American Optometric Association, infants should have their first eye exam at 6 months old. Children should then be checked again at age 3, and around 5 to 6 years old, then every two years if no vision correction is required, and yearly if there is a vision correction.
Catherine Darling, O.D. is the owner of Darling Eye Center, with offices in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island.