Pediatric Eye Care in Northern VA
Children have specific needs requiring special care. Because a child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play, visual difficulties can interfere significantly with learning and participation in recreational activities.
Why Is Pediatric Vision Care So Important?
Children need the following basic vision skills to help them achieve strong motor skills, language skills, social skills, and academic success:
- Near vision – the ability to see clearly and comfortably at 10 to 13 inches
- Distance vision – the ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach
- Binocular coordination – the ability to use both eyes together
- Eye movement skills – the ability to aim the eyes accurately, move them smoothly across a page, and shift them quickly and accurately from one object to another
- Focusing skills – the ability to keep both eyes accurately focused at the proper distance to see clearly and to change focus quickly
- Peripheral awareness – the ability to be aware of things located to the side while looking straight ahead
- Eye/hand coordination – the ability to use the eyes and hands together
If one or more of these is lacking or not functioning properly, your child will have to work harder to learn. This can lead to headaches, fatigue, eyestrain, and other problems.
Pediatric eye exams are the best way to ensure that your child can have the functional vision so crucial during their developmental and academic years. These assessments are key to the early detection and treatment of conditions that may impede normal visual development.
When to Schedule Pediatric Eye Exams
Children are often more responsive to treatment when they are diagnosed early.
- Infants – At 12 months. This complements the routine wellness care that babies receive at the pediatrician’s office by broadening the review of their eye health and vision status.
- Ages 3 and up – At age 3 and just before entering kindergarten. This checks whether your child is developing the appropriate visual skills critical to learning. Children may not be aware that they have a vision problem and may be unable to communicate their difficulties to their parent or guardian. Dr. Smithson sees all patients under the age of 5 at the Alexandria and Reston locations. Any patient above the age of 5 can be seen by any of our experienced eye doctors at any of our four locations.
- School-age children who do not have vision problems – Every 2 years.
- Children who wear eyeglasses – Every year.
- Children with other vision problems – Frequency will depend on your eye doctor’s advice.
Bear in mind that school screenings and vision checks by at the pediatrician’s office are not intended to substitute for a thorough evaluation at an eye doctor’s office. If your child is under 5 years old, they will be seen by Dr. Keith Smithson.
Consultations for Children with Special Needs
Do you have a child who is having problems with learning, reading, and behavior or who has been diagnosed with a learning disability, developmental delay, ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or autism? We can help you choose an eye doctor for your child. Dr. Smithson, one of our pediatric and sports specialists, conducts visual and perceptual testing for children experiencing difficulty in school. He currently sees patients in our Alexandria and Reston offices.
Schedule an Appointment for your Child today!
If you need a pediatric eye doctor in Falls Church, Reston, Alexandria or Arlington, use our online appointment request form to make an appointment or you can call us:
Alexandria – Phone: 703-660-9494
Arlington – Phone: 703-413-1400
Falls Church – Phone: 703-573-1200
Reston – Phone: 703-467-9080