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Babies need eye exams too

A survey conducted by the American Optometric Association found that only 19 percent of parents? take their children for a full eye assessment before their first birthday. Another third wait until their children are between one and two years of age while 26 percent wait until their children reach five years or older. Statistics show that ten percent of infants have undetected eye problems which can range from crossed eyes? to cancer. Even though infants can't be evaluated using a standard eye chart, physicians are able to use other tests to determine if infants can fix their eyes on an object and follow it as well as make other assessments. Early diagnosis of eye problems is critical in maintaining infant vision health. Some symptoms of vision difficulties in an infant are excessive tearing, red eye lids, extreme sensitivity to light and white pupils. Parents need to report anything unusual with their child's vision to an eye doctor promptly. Amblyopia (weak vision usually affecting one eye) is one of the most common and often irreversible problems in young eyes, because the visual system develops from birth to age 7. Once the visual connections are finalized, even strong glasses will fail to make the vision clear in the affected eye.* Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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