Monday, January 28, 2013

Parenting tip: Get their eyes checked early!

I always tried to make sure I took my son to all the appointments early. Akk the well baby checks, yearly pediatrician visits, first trip to the dentist at 2 years old and every year after.

But for some reason, it never occurred to me to take him to the eye doctor. I figured that came later. I figured if he had a problem, we'd surely know it. I figured wrong.

Last summer, just before Brady turned 7, he was learning how to target shoot with his BB gun (under very close supervision by his step-dad and I, of course). His step-dad kept telling him to aim with his right eye since he's right-handed. Brady got frustrated and finally said, "But I can see better with my left eye. My right eye is all googly!"

And a few months earlier he had gotten a vision check at school. All it said was that when he tracked their finger he looked down to the left. At the time I thought nothing of it. But now I do.

It turns out his right eye is weaker than his left and is a little bit of a "lazy eye." His left eye had been compensating which is why for most things - reading, writing, watching TV - there was no obvious problem. If we'd waited any longer, there might not have been any way to correct it. But because he was young enough, we were able to get him glasses and use a patch a few times a week to strengthen his right eye.

After today's eye doctor visit, we learned the two eyes are close to being balanced, though his right will always be a little weaker. But with glasses, he has 20/20 vision. Yay!

So the lesson is: Take kids to the eye doctor as young as possible! If there's a problem, you'll be able to correct it much easier than if you wait.

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