Regularly examining your little one’s eyes is essential for detecting vision problems early. But how often should your child see an optometrist? Recommended eye exam schedules depend on your child’s age, risk factors, and vision needs.
The American Optometric Association recommends an initial comprehensive eye assessment between 6-12 months old. This first exam checks for eye alignment, focusing skills, and overall eye health. It establishes a baseline against which to compare future exams. Young children’s vision is quickly developing and requires frequent monitoring.
Watch for possible vision issues, like eyes crossing. Also, look out for excessive blinking and poor eye contact. Consult an optometrist immediately if any concerns arise. Your pediatrician can also refer your child for an eye exam at any age if they suspect vision problems.
Eye care professionals recommend an eye exam for preschool-age children. At this visit, your pediatric eye doctor will do the following:
Evaluate your child’s eyesight, acuity, and focus.
Check eye alignment for signs of lazy eye (amblyopia).
Assess eye coordination and movement.
Test eye health inside and out.
Screen color perception and depth perception.
Determine if glasses or vision therapy are necessary.
Good vision is crucial for learning and development during the preschool years. So, it is essential to catch any issues early through regular exams.
School-aged children should have an eye exam at the start of every school year. Their vision needs increase dramatically due to schoolwork demands. Between exams, watch for signs of possible vision impairment. These include squinting, rubbing eyes, or headaches during schoolwork, and avoiding reading and close activities.
Others include poor performance in school, trouble seeing the board, and falling behind grade-level expectations. Schedule an appointment with an optometrist whenever vision concerns arise with schoolwork.
Besides regular eye exams, certain situations call for scheduling an eye appointment immediately. See an optometrist promptly if your child has any of the following:
Red flags in infants include eyes frequently crossing or wandering, white spots in the pupil, poor eye contact, and chronic tearing or eye drainage.
Vision complaints from a school-aged child.
Injury involving the eyes or head.
A family history of eye disorders.
Two types of eye doctors perform exams on babies, children, and teens. Pediatric ophthalmologists are medical doctors who treat complex pediatric eye diseases and perform surgery. Optometrists offer routine children’s eye exams to screen vision, prescribe glasses, and handle basic vision care needs. Look for an optometrist experienced in pediatric care when selecting an eye doctor for your youngster.
Infants should undergo an initial eye assessment between 6-12 months old. Annual exams are advisable, beginning at age two. School-age children should have a vision screening each year before starting school. If there are any vision complaints or eye injuries, it is essential to see an eye doctor promptly.
Pediatric eye exams play a vital role in ensuring healthy vision development. Regular eye exams enable the early detection and treatment of potential eye disorders. Good vision improves school performance and enhances the overall quality of life.
Protect your child’s eyesight by scheduling routine, comprehensive eye exams. Follow your eye doctor’s advice on needed treatment, glasses, or contacts. Addressing vision problems early gives your child the best chance for normal vision.
For more on pediatric eye exams, visit Dry Eye Center of Alabama & Family Eye Care at our office in Homewood, Alabama. Call (205) 490-2322 to schedule an appointment today.