Dr. Alan Toler & Associates, PLLC 
               A Family Vision Care 
    Serving Generations in Central Virginia Since 1960      
   
        Call us today 804.231.9151 and let us meet your family vision needs. 

Parent's Center

When should I take my child for a first vision examination?
Your child's eyes are checked at birth for congenital abnormalities like cataracts. The American Optometric Association recommends an evaluation for vision problems and eye diseases by six months of age or sooner if abnormalities or risk factors are present.

Re-examination is recommended by age three; sooner if you notice crossed-eyes or an apparent problem seeing clearly. Your optometrist will be able to check your child's ability to see clearly far away and up close; to change focus from far to near and back; and to use the two eyes together as a team. It is not necessary for your child to know the alphabet for these testing procedures.

The optometrist can also detect any tendency toward such vision problems as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Treatment to prevent or slow these problems may be started. In addition, this first examination is important in diagnosing a “lazy eye” early. Treatment for this is most effective when started early.


Who should I take my child to for their eye examinations?
An optometrist who specializes in behavioral (functional) optometry.

Click here for a special article of CHOOSING AN EYE DOCTOR by Patricia S.Lemmer, M.Ed., NCC.

Videos available for your child's vision development two week rental $15 tapes available for infant, one year, two year, three year, four year. Vision continues to develop and change throughout childhood. This fact reinforces the importance of regular exams and proper eye care for children.


Stages of Development

During Pregnancy
Visual development begins as early as the fourth week of pregnancy. At this time, the beginnings of the eye are smaller than the head of a pin and are hidden under a layer of skin.

In the next few months, the eyes’ nerves and blood vessels start to grow, as do the lens and the retina. At the end of the sixth month of pregnancy, the eye has completed much of its physical development.

Newborns
The acuity (sharpness of vision) of newborns is less than fully developed. They usually prefer looking at close objects and are especially attracted by faces and by objects that are brightly colored or of high contrast, and moving.

3 Months
By this age, most babies can smoothly “follow” a moving object and can hold their eyes on it even when it stops. The colors, details and moving parts of mobiles in cribs fascinate infants and help stimulate their visual development.

Visual development begins as early as the fourth week of pregnancy. At this time, the beginnings of the eye are smaller than the head of a pin and are hidden under a layer of skin.In the next few months, the eyes’ nerves and blood vessels start to grow, as do the lens and the retina. At the end of the sixth month of pregnancy, the eye has completed much of its physical development.The acuity (sharpness of vision) of newborns is less than fully developed. They usually prefer looking at close objects and are especially attracted by faces and by objects that are brightly colored or of high contrast, and moving.By this age, most babies can smoothly “follow” a moving object and can hold their eyes on it even when it stops. The colors, details and moving parts of mobiles in cribs fascinate infants and help stimulate their visual development.

3 to 6 Months

By now, the retina of the eye is quite well developed and the baby's visual acuity is good enough to permit small details to be seen. The infant is able to look from near to far and back to near again. Judgment of distances (depth perception) is also developing.

6 Months
At 6 months of age, the eye has reached about two-thirds of its adult size. Usually by this stage, the two eyes are fully working together, resulting in good binocular vision. Distance vision and depth perception are still improving.

1 Year Old
By the age of 1, a child's vision is well on its way toward fully development. Coordination of the eyes with the hands and body are naturally practiced by children, and can be enhanced by games involving pointing, grasping, tossing, placing and catching.

2 to 5 Years Old
The preschooler is typically eager to draw and look at pictures. Stories connected to pictures, drawing and symbols often captivate the child and help to coordinated hearing and vision.

TOYS, GAMES AND YOUR CHILD'S VISION
Here is a list of toys and activities that can help your child develop or improve various vision skills.

Birth through 5 Months
Toys: Sturdy crib mobiles and gyms; bright large rattles and rubber squeak toys
Activities: Peek-a-boo; patty-cake

6 Months through 8 Months
Toys: Stuffed animals; floating bath toys.
Activities: Hide-and-Seek with toys
.

9 Months through 12 Months
Toys: Sturdy cardboard books; take apart toys; snap-lock beads; blocks; stacking/nesting toys.
By the age of 1, a child's vision is well on its way toward fully development. Coordination of the eyes with the hands and body are naturally practiced by children, and can be enhanced by games involving pointing, grasping, tossing, placing and catching.The preschooler is typically eager to draw and look at pictures. Stories connected to pictures, drawing and symbols often captivate the child and help to coordinated hearing and vision.Here is a list of toys and activities that can help your child develop or improve various vision skills.Toys: Sturdy crib mobiles and gyms; bright large rattles and rubber squeak toysActivities: Peek-a-boo; patty-cakeToys: Stuffed animals; floating bath toys.Activities: Hide-and-Seek with toys.Toys: Sturdy cardboard books; take apart toys; snap-lock beads; blocks; stacking/nesting toys.Activities: Roll a ball back-and-forth.

One-Year-Olds
Toys: Bright balls; blocks; zippers; rocking horse; riding toys pushed with the feet.
Activities: Throwing a ball.

Two-Year-Olds
Toys: Pencils, markers, crayons; bean bag/ring toss games; peg hammering toys; sorting shapes/size toys; puzzles; blocks.
Activities: Read to your child; outdoor play barefoot; catch.

3 to 6 Years
Toys: Building toys with large snap-together components; stringing beads; puzzles; pegboards; crayons; finger paint; chalk; modeling clay; simple sewing cards; large balls; match-up-shape toys; tricycle; connect-the-dot games; sticker books/games.
Activities: Climbing, running; using balance beam, playground equipment.

SOURCE: AMERICAN OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION, Toys, Games and Your Child's Vision Pamphlet.

The above activities should be modified. Start at a point where your child is successful, then start making the activity more difficult. For example, ball tossing. Start with a balloon, then go to a beach ball, and keep getting smaller. Don't start with a baseball.