I take a lot of pictures of my kids. A LOT. And not just for the blog, either. I'm forever snapping pictures of their crazy antics, the awesome firsts and different experiences they have, and even if they just happen to look cute...which is often, of course.
I started noticing that whenever I was using the red-eye removal tool that Bryce's pupils were ALWAYS huge. Being the paranoid mom that I am, I started paying attention and comparing his pupils to Rylie's in the same lighting, and I got nervous. I remembered that one of my friends had blogged about taking her kids to the eye doctor, so I reached out to her to get her opinion. She said that I probably didn't need to worry about Bryce's big pupils, but that I should take them to the optometrist anyway because all kids should see an eye doctor regularly.
I ended up doing a little research and found that, according to the American Optometric Association, kids should see an eye doctor as young as 6 months old. (You can even get a free eye exam through the InfantSee program for babies 6-12 months old!) Since my kids were way past that age, I read a little more about Preschool Vision and found out that the eye exams done at the pediatrician's office just aren't enough. By age 3, your child should have a thorough optometric eye examination to make sure his or her vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. So off to the optometrist we went!
Rylie and Bryce were actually both very excited to have their eyes checked. They didn't seem nervous at all. Rylie had a little pre-screening done by a tech, and then when the doctor called her back, she hopped right up in the chair.
Sorry for the cell phone pics. Can you believe that I forgot to take my "real" camera?
The doctor did the standard vision test by having Rylie read the different letters on the chart, and determined that her vision was fine for her age. She then did the color blindness test and a 3D test. Rylie put on the special 3D glasses and then was supposed to push the "buttons" that popped out of the book. She passed both of those tests also with flying colors. She also tested her tracking, which she said is above average for her age.
During Rylie's exam, I mentioned that she had been rubbing her eyes a lot lately. The optometrist asked me if she had problems with allergies and I explained that even though she does have food allergies, she was skin tested for environmental allergies and tested negative to all of them. She told me that some people are affected by allergies in their eyes only, and then swabbed the edge of Rylie's eyes with a solution and looked at them with a black light. Sure enough, her eyes were severely inflamed. She gave us a prescription for some drops, which, by the way, have worked wonders for Rylie!
After that test, she put the drops in Rylie's eyes to dilate her pupils, and then called Bryce back to start his exam. Just like his sister, he hopped right up in the chair.
Bryce went through the same tests - calling out the pictures on the charts, the color-blindness test and the 3D test. Since Bryce doesn't recognize all of his numbers that well, we didn't get a definitive answer as to whether or not he is color blind in one certain color. (I forget now which one it was.) Even if it turns out that he is, there isn't anything we can do to correct it, but we can use tools to help him cope with it. She will re-check that next year.
The other vision tests went great. His vision is normal for his age, and he can definitely see in 3D. In fact, he liked the 3D test so much that he kept asking for the book so he could push the buttons. The doctor then got smart and used the "button book" as a reward for after he did the other tests.
Once Bryce had the drops in to dilate his eyes, it was Rylie's turn to get back in the chair. The doctor checked her optic nerve, and everything looked fine, and the same went for Bryce. Once that was all done, it was time to get their cool shades and head out.
Bryce wouldn't wear the special shades, so I carried him out with his eyes closed. He was glad to be back home and in the house where he could see. It was so funny seeing their pupils so big, and it took a while before I could see their pretty blue eyes again.
I am so glad I took the kids to an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam! It turns out that some kids just have big pupils and that I had nothing to worry about with Bryce. We also probably wouldn't have found out about Rylie's ocular allergies otherwise, and the poor kid would still be rubbing her eyes constantly, trying to get some relief from the itching. This will definitely be an annual visit for the whole family!
Have you taken your kid(s) to the eye doctor yet? At what age was their first visit?
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