Is it time for your child’s first vision exam? Vision exams for children are essential and a good way to ensure that your little one’s eyes are in great shape. Even before children learn to walk or talk, their eyes give them information that is important in understanding their world.
Consequently, eye health and vision complications in children can affect their brain function and bring about developmental delays. As such, it is important to catch potential eye problems early. That way, children can get the visual skills they need to understand their world as they grow.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), your child should have their first detailed eye exam at six months old. While a baby’s eyes may still be developing at this age, significant growth happens in these months. An eye exam will show whether your child is reaching their vision milestones.
Such milestones include:
Ability to see distances
Good color vision
Ability to track moving items and reach for them (hand-eye coordination)
Ability to use their eyes to crawl towards objects (eye-body coordination)
At six months old, babies cannot identify numbers or letters from eye charts. Thus, your child’s first eye test may not resemble eye assessments for older kids or adults.
During the vision exam, your child’s ophthalmologist will assess your child's ability to respond to different lights, as well as their ability to track objects in motion. The eye doctor will also check inside your child’s eyes to examine the eye alignment and internal eye organs.
Through this exam, a pediatric eye doctor looks for:
Problems with eye alignment (strabismus)
Retinal wellness issues
Trouble tracking or focusing on images (amblyopia)
Clogged tear ducts
Eye irritation or infection
If the eye doctor detects an eye problem, they treat it and prescribe corrective eyewear for your child if required.
After their first exam at six months old, your child should have their next exam when they turn three years old. If your child’s eye health looks good, the next detailed eye checkup should be when your child is five or six years old.
If your child does not need any vision correction, they should see their eye doctor after every two years. But if your child needs eyeglasses or contact lenses, they should see their ophthalmologist every year.
When preparing for your child's first eye exam, pick a time your child is awake, happy, and playful. Schedule your consultation so that it does not fall during your baby’s mealtime or naptime.
Be sure to give your child's eye doctor your child's medical history, including a history of premature birth and any family history of eye problems. Also, mention any developmental delays or eye focusing or eye-tracking issues you may have observed in your child.
For more on when your child should get their first vision exam, contact Kopolow & Girisgen Doctors of Optometry at our offices in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can also call (702) 452-2020 or (702) 341-7254 today to book an appointment.