A child's eyes are the most valuable tools for learning their environment. Most of what we learn comes from the visual senses. Vision is therefore one of the most important elements in the development of a child. Unlike the general misconception, vision is more than just seeing 20/20. A child with normal 20/20 vision may still have underlying diseases and poor binocular ability. In order for our eyes to work optimally, they must be free of diseases, and the two eyes must work efficiently together as a team. This handbook is not intended to be used as a treatment protocol. Its purpose is to increase the reader's level of understanding about common pediatric diseases and binocular conditions. The content of these pages is not intended to take the place of an eye examination, or the advice from a licensed eye doctor. Some parents often wonder when to bring their child in for an eye exam and what type of information an eye exam will give. We believe that children of all ages should be examined annually, or at least be screened. In the early years while a child is undergoing many developmental changes, there are many visual conditions that could be managed easily. However, if left untreated, these conditions may have long lasting effects on a child. An eye exam will yield much information about the eye health, body health, and how the brain works. Many children's behavioral problems, such as avoidance of close work in school, can be due to a visual problem. Therefore, if a learning disability is suspected, the child should be examined by an eye doctor. We hope that by placing this handbook on the World Wide Web and making it available in English as well as Spanish, it will become a useful resource for parents and help dispel some of the myths and misconceptions about children's eye problems. It should also help guide parents to know when and where to turn for help.
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