Common Myths About Vision In Children


Vision Mythology

1.  Myth: Babies can see only black and white.

Truth: Babies are born with an immature color vision system. They can see color at birth, although they cannot see the color blue. The key to helping babies develop good color vision is to give them things to look at that have high contrast (a big difference between colors). For example, a baby will more easily be able to tell that a light-yellow pillow is separate from a dark-green bedsheet, or that a red ball is separate from a white rug, than it will be able to tell a light-green pillow from a dark-green bedsheet or a tan ball from a light-brown rug. Toys, linen combinations, blankets, and other objects in the baby’s room should have big differences between background and border colors. Since black and white combinations have the greatest contrast, infants can see borders between these colors best.

2.  Myth: If my child wears glasses all the time, his or her eyes will get worse.

Truth: Studies have shown that wearing glasses does not make any refractive disorder (near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism) worse. Because your child’s brain will like the clear image sent to it when the glasses are in place, he or she will want to wear the glasses more and more. Allow and encourage your child to wear the glasses as much as he or she likes, as this will result in the best vision as the child grows. Limiting the amount of time a child wears glasses out of fear that the child will “get used to them” will hold back the child from developing good vision.

3.  Myth: Poor vision caused my child’s dyslexia.

Truth: Many studies have shown that the tendency to switch words, letters, and numbers when reading (dyslexia) is primarily a problem of language rather than vision. Although visual problems can contribute to some developmental disorders, they are not the primary cause of dyslexia. Eye doctors can rule out dyslexia, but should not diagnose it. That is the job of a trained developmental Optometrist or child psychologist.

4.  Myth: My baby’s eyes are fine, there’s no need to see the eye doctor.

Truth: Comprehensive eye examinations are recommended for every child by the age of 14 months. A pediatric optometrist or pediatric Ophthalmologist can discover early warning signs that a parent may not see. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis.

5.  Myth: Wearing glasses means my child has “weak” eyes.

Truth: Glasses are worn mainly to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. In these conditions, the eye muscles are not “weak.” Rather, the eyes do not focus properly because of the curvature of the lens and/or the depth or shallowness of the eye. Glasses are worn to correct an improper focus.