Receiving a comprehensive exam is always recommended for adults, but what about a pediatric eye exam for your child? How important are they? The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive their first eye exam starting at age 3. They should receive a pediatric eye exam every two years from that time if no problems are present. Infancy and childhood are vital years when it comes to the development of the eyes and correct vision. Parents need to be especially vigilant during these years to watch for signs to ensure the vision is progressing as it should. Scheduling regular pediatric eye exams should be part of your action plan for providing your child with a strong foundation. Learn about your child’s eyes, why these exams are so important and what your child needs to develop correctly.
Your eye health is extremely important for total body wellness. Why? Your eyes are what help you to see and interact with your environment every single day. Without your vision, small tasks, working, taking care of children, etc., would become incredibly difficult. That’s why it’s so important to take care of vision from an early age. Children’s vision is especially important to monitor and take care of, for vision is continually developing up until about age 10 in children. These years are critical for visual development. Parents must be vigilant in monitoring their children’s behaviors to detect vision problems. Pediatric eye exams are utilized to help parents with this task and to ensure that vision is on track for proper development through the years.
As a parent, it’s sometimes hard to keep up on all the appointments your child needs and how to know when they need them. Children generally exhibit certain behaviors is there is a vision problem present. The American Optometric Association helps parents to know the signs to look for which include:
Children frequently rubbing their eyes
Turning of one eye in or out
Eyes not moving or working together as one
Sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close to see
Squinting at either near or far distances
Short attention span, especially in school
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing sports, games, or bike riding
Avoiding detailed activities such as coloring or puzzles
When vision problems are apparent, you should seek help from a professional and a pediatric eye exam. We recommend that your child receive frequent pediatric eye exams at least every 2 years starting at age 3. With more than 100 different ways to test that the eyes are working correctly, our doctors can select the most appropriate tests for your child. These examinations will not only provide an accurate assessment of your child’s ability to see but also gauges general eye health. With frequent pediatric eye exams, we can detect eye problems early on that could become severe later in adolescence and adulthood and prevent that severity from occurring.
By age 3, your child should have a comprehensive eye examination to ensure their vision is developing normally and is absent from eye disease. Following this initial exam, your child will not need another eye exam until age 5 unless there are significant abnormal findings. We take several tests and compare them to ensure that the exams are accurate.
The American Optometric Association gives guidelines for all patients to receive eye examinations. Between birth and 2 years of age, risk-free children should receive a pediatric eye exam at 6 months of age. If a child is at risk (born premature or with infections, refractive errors, nervous system dysfunction, etc.), they should receive a pediatric eye exam by 6 months of age and as frequently as recommended. Between 2-5 years of age, children should receive a pediatric eye exam at 3 years of age. Between 6-18 years of age, children should receive an exam before first grade and then at least every 2 years thereafter. Children who are at-risk should receive an exam annually.
A pediatric eye exam is nothing to be scared of. Make sure your child knows that the appointment will be quick and is to simply ensure that their eyesight is working well. Some recommendations we have for the best experience is:
Schedule your appointment earlier in the day.
Have a discussion about the eye exam with your child prior to coming to the office. Let them ask questions and answer them as best as you can.
Explain all concepts of the exam in easy-to-understand terms.
Prepare your child for the use of eye drops during the exam. Children get nervous about eye drops but don’t have to be if they are prepared properly.
At Optical Masters, we want all of our patients to have a healthy vision for life. That is why we recommend coming to see us for eye exams every 1-2 years to monitor vision health. If you or your child are experiencing visual problems, we have over 100 tests we can use to help you. Prepare your child for a lifetime of eye health and wellness with a pediatric eye exam. These exams can help them avoid eye diseases and conditions that could hurt them. To schedule your consultation or to make an appointment, call Optical Masters today at (720) 782-2190.