At Optical Masters, we recommend your child have a pediatric eye exam at least every two years, or more frequently, starting at age 3. With more than 100 different ways to test your eyes are working correctly, our doctors select the tests most appropriate for your child. The eye exam not only provides an accurate assessment of his/her ability to see, but also gauges general eye health – and can result in early identification of other eye problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
When Should a Pediatric Eye Exam Occur?
The preschool years are when visual abilities are developing in your child; visual abilities they will use in school and throughout their lives. Parents need to be especially vigilant during these years to watch for signs to ensure 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. By age 3, your child should have a comprehensive eye examination to ensure her vision is developing normally and is absent of eye disease. Following this initial exam, if there are no significant findings, your child will not need to be evaluated again until age 5. Your eye doctor compares the test results of the two examinations so he can get an accurate picture of how your child’s vision is developing before the school years begin.
What Signs Should Parents Look for that Eye Attention is Needed?
The American Optometric Association offers the following list of signs to watch for that could mean that your child has a vision problem:
- Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close
- Tilting their head
- Frequently rubbing their eyes
- Short attention span for the child’s age
- Turning of an eye in or out
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing ball or bike riding
- Avoiding coloring activities, puzzles and other detailed activities
Schedule a visit with a member of our Optical Masters staff if you see any of these signs in your child.
Why Is a Pediatric Eye Exam Necessary?
Some parents are under the misconception that if their child passed a vision screening administered by their school or pediatrician, they don’t need to worry about a vision problem. These vision screenings are not the same as a comprehensive eye examination by an eye doctor. Research has shown that vision screenings can miss as many as 60% of children with vision problems. Treatment of childhood eye diseases has been found to be most successful at early ages. Treatment may include eye glasses, patching, eye drops or even surgery.
What to Expect During a Pediatric Eye Exam?
Technology today allows an Optical Master’s eye doctor the ability to evaluate your child’s vision without them needing to know the alphabet or how to read. To make your child’s first visit to the eye doctor an easy one, consider the following suggestions: 1) Schedule your appointment for earlier in the day; 2) Before your child’s appointment, have a discussion about the eye examination and encourage them to ask questions and discuss potential fears; 3) Explain the eye exam using words your child can easily understand and relate to. For example, comparing the E chart to a puzzle and the instruments to tiny flashlights and kaleidoscopes; and 4) Prepare your child for the use of eye drops during the examination. Explain that these eye drops won’t hurt them. They may sting a bit, but only momentarily. Be honest with your child and reassure them.
Common Tests Administered During the Pediatric Eye Exam
The pediatric eye exam tests for some of the most common eye conditions that they could have so that they can be caught early and treated appropriately. Some of the tests you can expect are:
- Eye movement ability
- Proper eye alignment
- Reactions to light and darkness
- Congenital Cataracts
Call for a Consultation
Prepare your child for a lifetime of eye health and wellness with a pediatric eye exam at age 3 and age 5. These exams can help you address any issues early on so your child won’t be hindered by any eye conditions or diseases as they learn and develop. Located at two convenient Denver locations–King Soopers Shopping Center off of South Monaco Parkway in Denver and at the Brentwood Shopping Center on Federal Boulevard–Optical Masters can offer you top-rate eye care services and help you with your eye health goals.