Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit Stresses Importance Of Full Vision Exams For Babies, Toddlers

Posted by & filed under Childrens Vision, Pediatric Exams.


This infant is already due for his first eye exam.

Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit Stresses Importance Of Full Vision Exams For Babies, Toddlers

A recent article in the Pittsburg Tribune Review by Kellie Gormley reports that more and more younger children are being diagnosed with vision problems, “medical professionals and parents are catching the problems earlier then they did in previous generations.” Dr. Julie Anderson with Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit notes that the American Optometric Association “recommends babies get a full vision exam when they are 6 to 12 months old, then periodically after that.” That is because “basic vision screenings, like those done at schools and pediatrician well visits don’t give a complete picture of the eyes health and functioning.”



Contact us about an Infant See Exam today.

(For information on Infant See Eye Exams Click this link)

In addition Dr. Anderson pointed out the importance of detecting vision problems in little ones early, because “vision is the primary sense” used in learning. Read the full story below.

Little Matteo’s right eye was turning inward and getting stuck, and the condition was worsening every day.

His parents — Hilary and Matt Meurer of the North Side — suspected their 2-year-old might have lazy eye, so they took him to a doctor, who discovered that Matteo was farsighted. His eyes worked so hard to see things that were close up that the right eye, the one with worse vision, got fatigued and wandered. So, Matteo has started wearing bendable toddler glasses.

More and more younger children — preschool age and even babies less than a year old — are being diagnosed with vision problems and need glasses, experts say. According to a 2011 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, up to one out of 20 preschool-age American children has a vision problem.

This may always have been the case, but medical professionals and parents are catching the problems earlier than they did in previous generations, says Dr. Christin Sylvester, a pediatric ophthalmologist with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Parents sometimes come to Sylvester in shock because their child failed a routine vision exam, and they didn’t know the child had a problem. Very young children can’t verbally express eyesight struggles well, but parents can look for symptoms. These include things like sitting too close to the television, squinting and having misaligned eyes.

The Meurers noticed the seemingly lazy eye on their son, and also that Matteo seemed clumsy because he would bump into things a lot. Before, they attributed that to normal toddler klutziness, but now that he’s wearing glasses, his coordination has improved significantly because his depth perception is improved.

“When he started wearing glasses, he got instantly better,” Hilary Meurer says. Matteo loves his glasses, even though he is the only child in his peer group who wears them. “I was prepared for a battle of trying to convince him to wear them.”

Dr. Andrea Thau, vice president of the American Optometric Association, says it is important for parents to rule out vision problems when they see symptoms. If parents have vision problems, their kids are more likely to get them.

“It’s amazing to me that so many parents just assume that kids can see well,” says Thau, an optometrist in New York City. “Children don’t know that they have an eye problem. Vision is the primary sense we use in learning.”

The most common problems in young children’s eyes are farsightedness, where their close-up vision is fuzzy, Sylvester says. The good news is that nearsightedness — where distance vision is blurry — tends to worsen with age, while farsightedness often improves. Farsighted children may completely outgrow their vision problem, she says.

Premature babies can be very nearsighted and have retinopathy, which causes problems in a developing retina, Sylvester says.


Specially designed glasses that don’t come off easily are used on infants and toddlers

The American Optometric Association recommends babies get a full vision exam when they are 6 months and 12 months old, then annually after that, with either a pediatric ophthalmologist or optometrist. Basic vision screenings, like those done at schools and at standard pediatrician well visits, don’t give a thorough enough picture of the eye’s health and functioning, Thau says.

“The screenings are inherently flawed in the way they are done,” Thau says. Screenings are helpful, though, because they can catch some significant problems, she says.

The issue of when and where young children get eye exams can be controversial. Dr. Geoffrey Bradford, who is on the executive committee for ophthalmology at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Early treatment for vision problems is critical, Bradford says, because problems become harder to reverse with age, and correction can prevent permanent damage. Serious eye problems that begin at birth or infancy include misalignment of the two eyes, cataracts and amblyopia, which is often called “lazy eye.”

“About 5 percent of young children have severe problems that must be addressed as early as possible … in order for treatment to provide the rosiest outcomes,” says Bradford, professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

If parents are concerned their children will be teased about wearing glasses, Dr. Julie Anderson with Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit assures them that doesn’t happen much, because glasses are more stylish and attractive now. Some kids beg for glasses even if they don’t need them because the cute, colorful glasses have become a status symbol.


Dr. Anderson mentions that Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit participates with the Infant See Program. This program provides a complete eye exam to any infant before their first birthday at no charge. “We have about 250 pediatrician referrals annually for the Infant See Program parents do not need a referral,” states Anderson. “Just call Eyecare Associates at 816-524-8900 and set up an Infant See appointment today.”


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Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit. Conveniently located off Chipman at 221 NW McNary Court

We Were Tricked Into Thinking Carrots Helped Our Vision.

Posted by & filed under General Vision.



Were We Tricked Into Thinking Carrots Helped Our Vision?


We Were Tricked Into Thinking Carrots Helped Our Vision.


Did mom and grandma trick us into eating carrots? Does our vision get better if we do? Is it an old wives tale?

According to the American Chemical Society even if we eat lots of carrots we still may need glasses. (See video)

Carrots contain lots of beta carotene, which the body helps process into vitamin A. While vitamin A is good for your eyes lots of other foods have it. If we have a healthy diet we are generally going to get plenty of vitamin A to keep our eyes healthy. Foods such as peas, spinach, lettuce and cantaloupe all give us vitamin A.

So did carrots get the great reputation for vision? According to the American Chemical Society it all began in World War II.

During the war the British developed a new system called radar. Radar stations enabled the British to see bombing attacks coming from Germany in time to scramble fighters to intercept them. Being able to know when and where the bombers were coming from gave the British Air command a great advantage. Part of the success of the Battle of Britain was that Germany didn’t recognize the strategic advantage of the radar stations set up along the coast of England. For the most part Germany didn’t attack these facilities leaving the British with an early warning system.

In order to make sure Germany didn’t understand the importance of the radar stations Britain had to come up with reasons why their pilots were so successful at finding enemy fighters and bombers at night. So they started the rumor that the British pilots ate lots of carrots and that made them have great night vision! It was all a hoax! The hoax was so successful that not only did the Germans believe it but so did the British public.


lady carrot glasses


Don’t get us wrong. Carrots are still a tasty healthy food. The Doctors of Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit encourages you to keep eating them. However we also encourage you not to throw away your glasses when you plant your spring garden!



Eyecare Associates of Lees Summt: Care you want. Selection you deserve.


Laser Toys Pose Risk To Children’s Vision

Posted by & filed under Childrens Vision.



Laser toys pose risk to children’s vision

The Food and Drug Administration is issuing new safety recommendations for laser toys to protect children and their vision.

Many a kid (and parent) who has seen Luke Skywalker battle Darth Vader with a lightsaber thinks lasers are cool.

What they may not know is this: When operated unsafely, or without certain controls, the highly-concentrated light from lasers—even those in toys—can be dangerous, causing serious eye injuries and even blindness. And not just to the person using a laser, but to anyone within range of the laser beam.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is particularly concerned about this potential danger to children and those around them, and has issued a guidance document on the safety of toy laser products.

According to Dan Hewett, health promotion officer at FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, “A beam shone directly into a person’s eye can injure it in an instant, especially if the laser is a powerful one.”

However, laser injuries usually don’t hurt, and vision can deteriorate slowly over time. Eye injuries caused by laser light may go unnoticed, for days and even weeks, and could be permanent, he says.


Retinal damage caused by simple hand held laser pointer



Some examples of laser toys are:

  • lasers mounted on toy guns that can be used for “aiming;”
  • spinning tops that project laser beams while they spin;
  • hand-held lasers used during play as “lightsabers;” and
  • lasers intended for entertainment that create optical effects in an open room.

Dr. Laura Nennig with Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit, Missouri notes that “the laser toys with outputs above certain levels if not operated properly can injure the vision of those using them. They can also injury individuals within range of the laser beam.”


Dr. Nennig also recommends that parents keep up to date on their children’s eye exams. Recommendations are generally for an exam once a year for school age children.  Please call her office at 816-524-8900 to set up an appointment for your child.

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Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit


Daily Statin Might Raise Your Risk for Cataracts

Posted by & filed under Cataracts.


A recent Canadian research report (Canadian Journal of Cardiology, December 2014) showed that taking a statin to lower your cholesterol may raise your risk of developing cataracts.

Statin medications such as Zocor, Crestor and Lipitor protect many people from heart attack and stroke. They may raise the odds of developing the vision problems by 27 percent, the researchers report.

But the risk of developing cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye, is insignificant compared with the benefits of these drugs, said lead researcher Dr. G.B. John Mancini.

“The benefits of statins are far outweighed by any small risk for cataract surgery,” said Mancini, a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

“However, the indication for statin use should be solid from the outset and fully understood by patients,” he added.

Mancini said this study can’t prove that statins cause cataracts. “Careful observations in clinical trials are needed to support or refute this association,” he said.

Dr. Miriam Anderson with Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit notes that “cataracts eventually occur in everyone if they live to be old enough. However they can be removed with a quick and painless procedure that has over a 99% success rate. “ She says “since you are going to get cataracts anyway it is in your best interest to take your statins and keep your cholesterol at acceptable levels.”

Dr. Anderson also states that this study doesn’t completely answer the question about statin use and cataracts. Other studies have shown there is not an increase in cataracts while using statins. She recommended that no one should stop taking their statins because of a concern about cataracts. Anderson states that in general statins are very safe and effective drugs that can greatly increase the life span for patients at risk for strokes and heart attacks.

Anyone who is interested in being examined for cataracts is welcome to contact Dr. Miriam Anderson at her office at Eyecare Associates of Lees Summit.  The office number is 816-524-8900.