Keeping Up with Regular Eye Care

Keeping up with regular eye care can help both you and your family see better as well as keep eye disease at bay.

In tenth grade, much to my chagrin, I was given a prescription for eye glasses. This is one of only two photos that I could find of me wearing my specs. (Apologies to Jen and Steph for showing off their big hair.)

I don’t remember being self-conscious about my glasses, but I must have been. I can only find two pictures in a sea of high school and college photographic evidence. And they were doozy glasses! It was the late 80′s, think big, brightly colored frames. These pictured are pretty tame in comparison.

I should not have been surprised that my vision needed correction. My parents both wore glasses as did the grandparents and aunts and uncles. My sisters both wear glasses to this day. I wore corrective lenses throughout high school and college and into young motherhood. I went very long between exams because I didn’t embrace the whole vision correction thing.

However, shortly after my third child was born a doctor decided that I had had what we’ll call a “miraculous healing”.

A small percentage of women experience vision changes during pregnancy. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

In those first five years of motherhood, my vision actually corrected itself to 20/20 vision. My eyes have to receive passing marks at vision checks for two years running. I no longer need corrective lenses.

Get yearly vision checks.

That said, hubs and I still get yearly vision checks. His dad had cataracts in his early 30′s which increases my husband’s and our children’s risk of eye disease. As a matter of course, we go every year to make sure our vision is adequate, but more importantly to confirm that our eyes are healthy.

A thorough eye exam (not just a vision screening) looks at neurological function,  eye muscle coordination, eye pressure, the health of the external and internal eye structures as well as examines vision.

We have one child who currently wears corrective lenses. It’s been a fairly painless process, though, he, too, is self-conscious about his specs. He is looking forward to the prospect of someday wearing contacts.

The funny thing is that his most recent eye exam determined that he has to wear them only for distance. Even though he’s “off the hook”, he wears them during all waking hours. (It won’t hurt his eyes to wear them more often; the doctor reassured us of that already.) He simply feels more comfortable with his glasses on.

Children and corrective lenses

We’re only a year or two into the experience of child + glasses. So far it’s been great. Starting at age 9, our son has been conscientious about wearing and caring for his glasses. We got one pair through our insurance and coughed up some cash at Costco for the spare pair So far, so good.

I don’t have much advice on the topic since our experience has been virtually painless. Life as MOM contributor, JessieLeigh, on the other hand, has lots of experience. Here are some of her posts on the topic of kids and glasses:

This year I plan on taking the other five kids in for regular eye exams. Two of them saw pediatric ophthalmologists as babies due to different kinds of cysts. Those situations resolved long ago, but it’s time to make sure everyone’s eyes are healthy as well as check to see if anyone has vision problems.

This post is sponsored by 1-800 Contacts, a valuable online resource for comparison shopping different prices on contact lenses. The company is dedicated to providing you with a simple, fast, and hassle-free way to order your contact lenses, including the 20/20 GUARANTEE: If you’re not pleased with your order, they’ll make it right. They’ll even exchange unopened boxes of previously purchased contact lenses if your prescription changes.

The new 1-800 Contacts iPhone app helps you quickly and easily order replacement lenses from your phone.

What’s been your family’s experience with eyeglasses and contacts?

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored partnership between myself and 1-800-Contacts. I have been compensated for my time spent writing but my opinions are my own.

 

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Comments

  1. We started with eyeglasses at age 2, when my son developed a turn in his right eye. We’ve been through patching, surgery, and are now to the point (age 6.5) where vision is 25/20, and he’s able to see in 3D again. I always, always recommend getting kids’ eyes checked BEFORE they start attending school, just in case. With kids, eye problems aren’t always obvious, and it never hurts to be safe.

  2. My oldest daughter started wearing glasses at age 3. I only found out she needed them because I asked her to run to her grandparents and she ran in the opposite direction. When i asked her why she told me she couldn’t see where her grandparents were. We didn’t have a tv at the time so nothing else pointed out she needed glasses. When I took her to the optometrist her eyes were bad. I can’t remember her perscription but it was four times the strength I needed. On a funny note my youngest was just over 2 at the time and everyone else in our family wore glasses so she wanted a pair too. I bought her a cheap pair of kiddy sunglasses and pop out the lenses and she wore them everyday for a couple of months. She used to put them in a glass case at night. It was too cute.

  3. I began wearing corrective lenses at 18 months. There is eye disease on both sides of my family that, if untreated, leads to blindness in the affected eye. Fortunately my mother caught the signs early and my vision is fine now (it stabilized around age 14 and I still wear glasses, but they are much more ‘normal’ in comparison to what I wore as a child). Within weeks of getting glasses, my vocabulary exploded because suddenly, I could see things and put words to them. I think many people don’t think of poor vision contributing to other developmental issues, but that is definitely the case! Mom said she cried right in the parking lot when I stepped out of the opthamologist’s office and pointed to the sky and asked her what the birds were.

    I went through patching for years, and bifocals and lenses so thick that I have permanent scarring on my nose from the weight of my frames against my skin. As I child, I broke my frames frequently, and mom really made use of extra pairs and warranties!

    What I have is heriditary, and so I’m contstantly monitoring my baby for signs of this condition. She’s only six months now, but the earlier it’s caught the better. I want to make sure that she has as much success with treatment as I have had!

    • I work for a pediatric eye doctor so we get to witness those stories first hand and it is amazing to see the change in children’s development once they get those glasses! We have one little boy who was so scared of being around people – probably because he really didn’t recognize people until he got his glasses. Mom was amazed at how much more outgoing he became once he knew who he was talking to!

      It is recommended that all babies have an exam at 6-12 months, at age 3, age 5 or before they start kindergarten, and every 1-2 years after even if they don’t need corrective lenses. Many optometrists will provide free eye exams as past of the InfantSEE program. Go to Infantsee.org to find one!

      • Our doctor checks Annika’s eyes every two months, and says that unless she sees something unusual we won’t see an eye doctor until she’s 12 months. That seems a little strange to me; sometimes I feel like I can see her eye crossing, but since the doctor hasn’t said anything yet, maybe I’m just being paranoid.

  4. I’ve worn glasses since early highschool too, and not always great at going in every two years. I do make sure to get a thorough exam when I do, and I am so thankful for that!!. This last time I waited almost four years. During the exam, the doctor spotted what looked like a possible vein protrusion around my retina and sent me to a specialist, just to make sure. There, a major tear was detected along the retina, a good third of it top to bottom. Most unusual given my age and life experiences. Being located to the far left of my left eye, it only affected the far right vision of my left eye that is compensated by my right eye meaning I hadn’t noticed the loss of vision that it caused. I am so fortunate that the tear was found during the exam and was able to be fixed (barely because of the size) by laser (457 blasts!!) instead of needing major surgery. (Tears progress to detachments = loss of sight in that eye unless ‘sewn’ back via surgery and vision doesn’t always return then).

    No longer will I put off my regular exams, nor take my vision for granted in anyway.

  5. This is really important information and I am so glad you’re reminding people. Eye health is NO joke and, too often, people figure they can rely on that 30 second vision screening done at the school or the ped’s office during a physical. Those are great tools and do, indeed, catch many vision problems, but that’s not the whole story. (Also? If 1-800-CONTACTS needs anyone else to sing their praises, send ‘em my way… goodness knows they get a lot of business from us. ;))

  6. So glad they invented contact lenses so those of us who need glasses can go one to feel normal like everyone else. Getting glasses as a young child can be challenging and difficult so at least they can get contacts when they get older.
    http://bellroadeyewear.com

  7. I’ve been wearing glasses since age 10. I have a 20/700, uncorrected. Needless to say, my eye doc is the only doc I don’t skip. I am mainly a contacts wearer, but I’ve started to experience dry eye syndrome starting in my late 20′s and into my 30′s. In my teens, I could wear contacts 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not now! Honestly, I want a lasik, but I’m scared.

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