If you are like any of my friends with kids under the age of 5, probably only 1 out of 10 of you have taken your child to see an optometrist. With our family it is a given that I would take my kids to see the optometrist, both my father and my father-in-law are optometrists (by coincidence) and my sister followed in the same career, I know how important our 1 set of eyes are. There is a program here in the US that is free for parents with kids under the age of one, called infantsee. Both my children took part in the examination around 9 months and both did pretty well. I found a local Dr through the locater and I really liked her, she told me to bring Molly-Mae back at the age of 4 because it wasn't unusual but she wasn't responding to the light as well as she liked.
In January this year I took MM back to see her. Molly-Mae's vision was amazing she could see really well compared to me (I am blind as a bat), so I was really shocked to find out that she would need glasses because she is long sighted. The Dr told me she needs to wear them for reading, drawing, any close work etc. I was really, really surprised as I thought her eyes were great.
In May she started Pre-K and after about 3 weeks, one day she looked at me and I had to do a double take, her right eye was turning in. I put it down to the fact that she had had a late night the night before, an hour later her eyes were back to normal. But slowly and surely this eye was drifting in more and more, I truly began to think I was paranoid because by the time my husband got home or I could ask someone else's opinion it was back to normal. Eventually I spoke to both my sister and my father-in-law and they persuaded me to take her back to my Dr who referred me to a Paediatric Opthamologist. The outcome - my daughter has strabismus, and will have to wear a patch for 3 months and now has to wear her glasses all the time.
I felt so sad for her, even though her patches are totally girly and have flowers on them, because I myself went through the patches when I was little and I absolutely HATED IT! I hated wearing glasses, (I still do), I hated people making fun of me saying I was a pirate and I hated being stared at. I have tried to not make a big thing of it with her, and told her mummy went through it, and it is to help her see better.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to get your kids eyes tested. My paediatrician does not do a visual test. Lately I have seen 2 kids in my daughters school who have slight turns in their eye, I can see it and I don't know what to say to their parents. Will I be the meddling parent if I say something? I can ask my sister to guest blog if you have any questions but I know we as parents have a limited time before the eye muscles set and you get one chance to try and help your child if they have a problem. If you think that it is too expensive shop around, the place where I bought my daughters glasses from do an eye exam for $59, it could be the best $59 you have ever spent. I went back to my original infantsee Dr for her eye test and it was $120 and then took the prescription to a cheaper large chain to buy the glasses. If you taker your child and nothing is wrong just think of it as a learning experience and it will set a guide for the optometrist for their next appointment, BUT if the optometrist finds something you have everything to gain. I will ask my sister to answer any questions or comments you might have, but please I am imploring you, if you have a child under the age of 5 get their eyes checked out.