We all know that babies are born perfect. But sometimes, even the perfect ones need a little help. That’s where glasses come in.
How do they know when babies need glasses? Well, there are a few signs. If your baby is having trouble seeing things up close, or if they’re constantly rubbing their eyes, it might be time to get them checked out by an eye doctor.
Glasses can help improve your baby’s vision and make the world a little
How do they know babies need glasses?
Babies are born seeing clearly at 20/20 — or 6/6 in Europe and Asia. But by the time they’re between 6 and 12 months old, about 1 in 20 babies will need corrective lenses, usually for farsightedness, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA).
There are two main types of vision problems in young children: refractive error and amblyopia. Refractive error means that the eyeball is too short or too long in relation to the focusing power of the cornea and lens, so light doesn’t focus directly on the retina at the back of the eye. Amblyopia (lazy eye) occurs when vision in one eye is reduced because the eye and brain are not working together properly.
Detecting these problems early is important, because if left untreated, they can lead to permanent vision loss.
How early can babies need glasses?
How early can babies need glasses?
Most babies don’t need glasses, but some do. If your baby has a family history of refractive errors, is born premature, or has other risk factors, your pediatrician may recommend that she have her vision checked starting at 6 months old.
What are the signs that a baby needs glasses?
There are several signs that may indicate that a baby needs glasses. Parents or caregivers should talk to a doctor if they notice any of the following:
-The baby seems distracted or doesn’t want to look at people or things
-The baby’s eyes turn in or out more than usual
-The baby squints often or rubs his or her eyes frequently
Sometimes, a mismatch between the way the eyes focus (refractive error) and the way the muscles around the eyes work (strabismus) can cause problems with vision. A comprehensive eye exam can check for these problems and determine if glasses are needed.
How do you test a baby for needing glasses?
Most glasses wearers develop a need for vision correction during their school years, when they have difficulty seeing the blackboard or reading books. However, some babies and young children need glasses to see clearly.
If you suspect your child may need glasses, take them to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. These doctors will use a number of tests to determine whether your child needs glasses.
The first step is usually a screening test called the cover test. The doctor will ask your child to focus on an object across the room, then quickly cover one of their eyes and watch how their eyes move. This test can help determine whether both eyes are working together or if one eye is turning in or out.
If the cover test suggests that your child may need glasses, the doctor will conduct other tests, such as an eye chart test. In this test, your child will be asked to read progressively smaller letters on a chart placed 20 feet away. This will help the doctor determine how well they see at different distances.
Other tests that might be conducted include:
- The retinoscope test, which shines a light into the eye to examine the retina
- The phoropter test, which allows the doctor to change lenses and measure how they affect your child’s vision
- The Hirschberg corneal light reflex test, which measures eye alignment by shining a light into the eye and observing where the reflection falls on the cornea
- The accommodative response testing, which measures how well eyes focus on objects at different distances
- The Slit lamp examination, which uses high-intensity light and magnification to check for damage to the eyeglasses lens or cornea
After all these tests are conducted, the doctor will be able to prescribe glasses if needed.
How are glasses prescribed for babies?
Optometrists use specialised equipment to examine babies’ eyes and prescribe spectacles if they are needed.
The first step is a ‘watch and wait’ approach. This is because a baby’s eyesight develops rapidly in the first few months of life, and most refractive problems will correct themselves without the need for glasses.
If your baby has a squint, this will usually be picked up at a routine newborn or six to eight week check-up with your GP. If the squint does not improve, your GP will refer you to an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye specialist).
If your baby does need glasses, they will be prescribed in the same way as for an adult. The optometrist will carry out a series of tests using different lenses to find the right prescription.
The optician will also fit your baby with frames that are comfortable and fit well. It is important to choose frames that are made from flexible materials such as titanium or memory metal. This is because babies’ skulls are still growing, and rigid frames can cause serious damage if they break.
What kind of glasses do babies need?
There are two types of glasses that can be prescribed for babies — single-vision lenses and bifocals. A single-vision lens is used to correct for either nearsightedness or farsightedness, while bifocals are used to correct for both. The type of glasses that your baby will need will be determined by their specific vision problem.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a condition in which close objects appear clear but distant objects appear blurry. This is caused by a misshapen eyeball or curvature of the cornea that prevents light from focusing properly on the retina. Myopia usually develops gradually and is first noticed when your child has difficulty seeing the blackboard at school orwhen they hold books close to their face.
Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is just the opposite — close objects appear blurry while distant objects appear clear. This condition is also caused by a misshapen eyeball or curvature of the cornea, but in this case, the eyeball is too short or the cornea is too flat. As a result, light focuses behind the retina instead of directly on it. Hyperopia can also be inherited and may develop gradually or suddenly.
How do you help a baby get used to glasses?
If your baby has been diagnosed with a vision problem, you may be wondering how to help them get used to wearing glasses. Doctors usually recommend that parents wait until their baby is at least six months old before trying to get them used to glasses, since they may not be able to keep them on their face otherwise. Here are a few tips for helping your little one get used to wearing glasses:
-Start by letting them wear the glasses for short periods of time, gradually increasing the amount of time they have them on.
-Help them focus on objects that are close by when they first start wearing glasses, and then gradually increase the distance.
-Make sure the frames fit well and are comfortable, since this can make a big difference in how willing they are to wear them.
-Encourage them with positive reinforcement and praise when they do wear their glasses.
If you’re having trouble getting your baby to keep their glasses on, talk to their doctor about other options, such as contact lenses.
Are there any risks with babies wearing glasses?
Most importantly, there is no evidence that wearing glasses causes any harm to babies or children. In fact, not treating a baby’s vision problem can lead to serious risks, including a delay in development of the visual system and amblyopia, or lazy eye.