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Pediatric Eye Care Questions with Dr. Mitchell

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Pediatric Eye Care Questions with Doctor Mark Mitchell

1. Why is it important for children to have their eyes examined?

Eye exams for children are very important to ensure your child’s eyes are healthy and have no vision problems that could interfere with school performance and potentially affect your child’s safety.

2. At what age should a child have his or her first eye doctor’s appointment?

While we can do an eye exam on a child at any age, most children should have their first eye exam at six months.

3. How often do you recommend children come in for a routine eye exam?

Every two years, or every year if problems are seen at an eye exam.

4. Are there any signs that a child should have his or her eyes checked?

Squinting, tilting the head, eyes not straight, sitting too close to the TV or devices, rubbing eyes, problems at school

5. Describe something – technique or technology – that makes a pediatric eye exam or pediatric eye

care different from adult eye care.

The main technique that is different for children is that we have to use exam methods where the patient does not need to tell us what they are seeing! We use various equipment–from simple to complex– to perform an exam just as thoroughly as we do with adults. We use both autorefractors to assist in determining an eyeglass prescription, as well as a technique called retinoscopy, where a skilled doctor can easily measure an eyeglass prescription even if the patient can’t tell us what they can see.

6. What can a child/parent expect during a pediatric eye exam?

Depending on a child’s age, we will measure the vision, use eyedrops to help get an accurate reading, check for eyes turning in or turning out (often using toys!), and look at the eyes’ health.

7. What do you look for during a pediatric eye exam?

We look for pretty much the same things that we do in adults. Is there a need for glasses? Are the eyes healthy? Are the eye muscles working correctly?

8. In addition to a routine eye exam, what other services do parents bring their children to your office

for? (foreign body removal, eye emergencies, eye infections…)

We also commonly see children for nonroutine care for things like red eyes, discharge from the eyes, eye allergies, and styles.

9. What is your busiest time of year for eye exams for kids?

We are the busiest at the back-to-school time in the Fall and just after school starts.

10. Can you share a story that was particularly successful or inspirational about pediatric eye care at

your office?

One of the most gratifying things that happen in our office seeing children is when we see a child who is not doing very well in school that needs glasses. In almost every case, wearing glasses dramatically improves school performance!

11. What should I look for when choosing glasses for my child?

First, the glasses have to fit comfortably. This means that they need to be the right size and shape for each individual child. Then, we look at the frame material-it’s got to be tough to handle children’s active lifestyles! We have the largest selection of children’s frames in San Jose, so we can help you and your child get a stylish frame that is comfortable and hold up well. The lenses need to be tough, too. Children need either polycarbonate or Trivex lenses.

12. At what age can my child wear contact lenses?

In most cases, children are old enough to handle contact lenses at age 13. With the new field of myopia management, we do have lenses for children with specific prescriptions that are used down to age 8.

13. Should a child limit screen time?

Children should definitely limit screen time. Smartphone addiction is a new phenomenon that we are seeing in children. The most recent study shows that those that are addicted to their phones have less brain white matter than others!

14. Are there any lens coatings that are recommended for children?

We recommend an anti-reflective coating for all glasses as it improves vision quality. For children, our antireflective coating includes blue blocking, which has been shown to improve sleep quality…important for learning.