Word of the day: Emmetropization

Word of the Day:  Emmetropization

Five points to you if you can fit this one into your everyday conversation.

If you have brought your toddler in for an eye exam you may have been told by your Optometrist that they are farsighted, or hyperopic.  What may have been puzzling is that your eye doctor may not have been concerned about this and in fact they may have told you that your toddler didn’t need glasses.  This may seem contradictory – why wouldn’t I get glasses for my toddler so they can see perfectly?  The answer is emmetropization.  Emmetropization is the natural process in humans and animals that causes the eye to grow in such a way so that it will have no refractive error.  When we are born, we are naturally born farsighted, or hyperopic.  This means that rather than the image being focused on the retina, it is focused behind the retina.  The body can recognize this and it will cause the eye, lens and cornea to grow in such a way that will try correct the farsightedness.  This process goes on during the first 5-7 years of life.  So babies are naturally born farsighted and then at about age of six they often have no prescription.    What it is important for your optometrist during the eye exam is to see just how farsighted your toddler is – if they are farsighted by too much or too little it may be important to get glasses to develop normal eyesight.  For information on when is the ideal time for your first eye exam check here.

Michael D. Nelson, Optometrist