Pediatric Eye Exams

An eye exam is important to your child's health

“At what age should my child have their first eye exam?”

In most cases, the Doctor recommends having the first eye exam during the first year of life to rule out a misalignment or crossing of an infant’s eyes (strabismus), lazy eye (amblyopia), and rare disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma, or even cancer.

Babies and Infants

If the parent feels that there is something wrong with their baby’s eyes, then the infant should be brought in for an eye exam.  Infants should have a visit to an eye doctor if there is:

  • Poor focus on objects after 3 months of age.
  • An eye that is turned in or out.
  • A pupil that looks white
  • A watery eye with overflow tearing.
  • An eyelid that is droopy.
  • A family history of serious eye problems.

 

Preschool children

Vision problems like nearsightedness or farsightedness can occur as early as preschool. At this age, most children don’t have the communication skills to describe their difficulty with their sight or perhaps they might not even be aware that they are experiencing a problem. Preschool children do not understand what “normal” vision is or what to expect when it comes to eyesight. 

It is very important for children to be checked early before conditions such as lazy eye become a life-long condition.  The earlier a lazy eye is identified and treated, the greater the chance for visual recovery.  A lazy eye identified after pre-teen years is often beyond treatment.

School age children

At this age, it is critical to have annual eye exams starting between the ages of four and six years to ensure good tracking eye movements, vision and perception development. Early successful learning in reading, writing, and arithmetic requires a certain level of development in visual, perceptual, and integrated skills.

A child may have a vision problem if they:

  • Complain of headaches.
  • Blink excessively.
  • Tilt or turn head while watching TV.
  • Sit too close to the TV
  • Frequently close one eye.
  • Complain of blurred distance or close vision.
  • Squint when looking at a distance or up close.
  • Complain of burning or itching eyes.
  • Consistently performs below potential.

A child may require glasses if they have reading symptoms like:

  • Avoiding or disliking reading.
  • Losing their place when reading.
  • Covering one eye or tilting head when reading.
  • Re-reading the same line. 
  • Feeling sleepy with reading during the day.
  • Complaining of tired eyes when reading.
  • Intermittent blurring of print.
  • Uses finger to maintain place and omits or confuses small words when reading.
  • Blurred distance vision for a while after reading.
  • Print moving, jumping, pulsating, or floating. 
  • Skipping letters, words, or lines. 
  • Blinks or rubs eyes excessively.
  • Frequently reverses words or letters when reading or writing.
  • Becoming distracted, restless, or inattentive when reading.
  • Holding books close to the face.
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