When should I bring my kid for a vision exam?
Children experience rapid changes to their bodies and vision while growing. We recommend a clinical assessment of your baby’s eyes between ages 6 months to one year – especially if your child was born prematurely, has a lazy eye, crossed eyes, or there is a family history of eye disease or high eyeglass prescriptions. The earlier a vision problem is detected the more responsive the visual system is to treatment and the more likely a child may avoid or reduce their dependence on glasses later on. Children do not have to know their letters or have good verbal skills to receive a comprehensive exam. A specialized procedure has been developed that allows us to measure the clarity at almost any age. Once children reach the age of five, eye examinations should be conducted yearly.
What are the signs of early vision problem?
These signs may indicate a vision problem:
- Frequent rubbing of eyes
- Short attention span
- Avoiding reading or close activities
- Frequent headaches
- Covering one eye
- Turning or tilting the head to one side
- Holding reading materials close
- Standing close to the TV
- An eye turning in or out
- Skipping words or losing places when reading
- Difficulty remembering what they just read
How often should I have my child’s eyes examined?
A pediatric eye health screening should occur during the first year of life and then again around 2-3 years old. Even if your child performs well on vision tests, contact us if you notice that your child is rubbing his or her eyes, squinting or demonstrating behaviors that seem to compensate for poor vision, such as sitting too close to the television.
What should I expect during my child’s eye examination?
The extent of your child’s eye examinations will depend on his or her age. For most kids, exams will include checks for distance vision, near vision, peripheral field awareness, eye movement and tracking, focusing capabilities, and eye-hand coordination. The health of the eye will be examined as well.
What should I be doing between examinations to protect my child’s eyes?
Encourage him or her to wear UV-protective sunglasses and feed your child a nutritious diet high in antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein, as well as omega-3 fats. Make sure that your child is taking breaks from extensive near work. It has been shown that children who spend a lot of time outdoors have a decreased risk of becoming nearsighted.
What does the American Optometrist Association recommend for vision exam for kids?
“The American Optometrist Association guidelines that all children have a complete vision and eye health examination at the age of 6 months, 3 years, upon entering kindergarten, and a routine vision care(every 2 year) thereafter throughout their school years”. (http://www.aoa.org)