If you’ve scheduled an eye exam for your child, you’ll want to leave the appointment with some basic answers about their eye health. Don’t be uncomfortable to ask questions if you’re unclear about something. Doctors need you to be involved in the decision-making process, so they want you to be well informed. This is especially true if you’re the parent of a child with a diagnosis of myopia.
If you’d like to do some prep work before the appointment, here’s a list of 10 general questions that you might consider asking your child's eye doctor:
1. What is my child's current visual acuity?
Visual acuity measured in each eye is just one of many tests that are especially important for children because vision problems can develop at any age and may go unnoticed if not tested.1 Early detection and treatment of vision problems may help reduce the risk of more serious eye conditions in the future and improve your child's overall quality of life.1
2. Does my child show any signs of myopia?
Your eye doctor can provide information about the signs and symptoms of myopia and other vision-related issues, as well as offer advice on how your child can maintain good eye health, which can help reduce the risk of any potential problems.
3. Does my child have any signs of other eye conditions or diseases?
Parents can always keep a close eye on any changes in their child’s vision, but an annual eye exam can monitor a child’s vision and eye health even if there are no apparent signs or symptoms of myopia or other visual issues. Eye exams can detect any potential problems early and help ensure that your child receives the appropriate care and treatment.
4. Does my child need glasses or contact lenses?
Whether or not your child needs glasses or contact lenses depends on the results of their comprehensive eye exam, their individual prescription, eye muscle coordination, focusing ability and visual demands
5. If I wear glasses or contacts, will my children eventually have to wear them too?
Although myopia is influenced by environmental factors, the trait has long been known to run in families.2 Studies have also found a link between parental myopia and their child's risk of developing myopia.3 Regardless of a parent’s vision status, children should see an eye doctor annually to monitor any changes in their vision and eye health.
6. Are there activities that can help my child’s vision?
Taking breaks from screens and reading to blink and look far away, as well as spending two hours a day outside, are healthy for their eyes. It's important to note that while certain activities can be beneficial for your child's eye health, they are not a substitute for professional eye care. Regular eye exams and consultation with your eye doctor or optometrist are still the best way for your child to maintain good eye health and minimize the risk of potential problems.
7. Do I need to protect my chld’s eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays?
Protecting your child's eyes from UV rays is important for maintaining good vision health. Ask your eye doctor for ways to protect your child's eyes based on their activities.
8. How often should my child have their eyes examined in the future?
The frequency of eye exams for your child can vary based on a number of factors, including their age, risk factors, family history, and baseline findings. It's important to discuss your child's individual needs with their eye doctor or optometrist to determine the best schedule for future eye exams. In some cases, it’s prudent for children to be re-examined before 12 months have passed. Your child's eye doctor is the best resource to determine the ideal frequency for your child.
9. Are there any changes I can make to my child's diet or lifestyle to improve their eye health?
A balanced healthy and active lifestyle will promote good health in the body, including the eyes, a vital organ.4,5 Studies have shown that exercise and a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables can help protect against blinding eye diseases, like macular degeneration and glaucoma.4,5
10. Is there anything else I should know about my child's eye health?
As children grow and develop, so do their eyes. Studies have also shown that myopia worsens the fastest in younger kids.6 By staying informed about your child's eye health and taking steps to promote good eye health, you can help ensure that your child has healthy eyes and clear vision throughout their life.
Remember that your child's eye doctor is there to help and answer any questions you may have. If you suspect that your child may have myopia, don't hesitate to ask about treatment options during the appointment to help prevent their vision from getting worse.