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Keeping an eye on healthy vision

Memorial Hermann pediatrician Dr. Alexis Monique Canlas offers tips to take care of your children's vision.

HOUSTON — It's always important to maintain good vision, but May serves as a reminder thanks to Healthy Vision Month. In a conversation with KHOU 11 digital anchor Brandi Smith, Memorial Hermann pediatrician Dr. Alexis Monique Canlas shared valuable insights regarding children's vision and the significance of proactive eye care. (Watch the full interview in the video above.)

Dr. Canlas emphasized that vision screenings in the clinic begin when a child turns three years old during their well-child check. She urged parents not to overlook the importance of these screenings, as they provide valuable insights into a child's visual development. If parents have any concerns about their child's vision, it is crucial to consult with a pediatrician, pediatric optometrist, or pediatric ophthalmologist who specialize in children's eye care.

Parents are encouraged to be vigilant and look out for certain indicators that may raise concerns about their child's vision. Dr. Canlas highlighted several red flags, including lack of steady eye contact, apparent inability to see, crossed eyes, misaligned eyes, eyes that don't focus together, abnormal eye movements, abnormal eye color, persistent redness or discharge, excessive tearing, and eye sensitivity. If any of these signs are observed, it is essential to seek professional evaluation promptly.

Dr. Canlas explained that some of the most common vision issues seen in pediatric clinics include nearsightedness (myopia), lazy eye (amblyopia), and crossed eyes (strabismus). Early detection and intervention are key to effectively managing these conditions. Should a child fail a vision screening or display abnormalities, immediate referral to a specialist is recommended to ensure appropriate treatment.

One of the challenges faced by parents is getting their children to wear glasses or corrective lenses consistently. Dr. Canlas recommended involving children in the decision-making process, allowing them to choose the style and color of their glasses. Making the experience enjoyable and empowering for children increases the likelihood of compliance. For older children interested in contact lenses, it is essential to ensure they understand the responsibilities that come with wearing them, such as proper cleaning and maintenance.

Dr. Canlas stressed that pediatricians are there to address parents' concerns, including vision-related issues. Parents are urged to prioritize their child's visual health during every well-child check. Early detection of eye problems is crucial as it can prevent permanent vision loss. Seeking professional help at the earliest signs of trouble ensures that children receive appropriate care and support to maintain optimal vision. Pediatricians are dedicated to guiding parents and offering assistance throughout the process.

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