Just like adults, children need to have their eyes examined regularly. Vision problems in children can interfere with their ability to do well in school, play sports, or otherwise participate fully in life. Certain pediatric vision problems can be corrected much more easily if they are caught at a young age, as well.
General Wellness Exams
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children have their first eye exam around six months of age, be seen against around age 3, and then approximately every two years. All children should at least have a comprehensive vision exam prior to starting school at age 5 or 6. These exams are designed to catch not only obvious conditions such as near- or farsightedness but also subtler problems like tracking issues.
As many as 10% of preschoolers and 25% of school-age children have some kind of vision problem. Many of these cannot be diagnosed during a school vision screening, which can only detect problems with visual acuity. Problems with tracking, teaming (how the eyes work together), and more cannot be detected with a general vision screening. For this reason, a comprehensive eye exam is recommended for all children on a regular basis, even if their school or your community offers vision screenings.
Management of Pediatric Eye Conditions
For children who have eye conditions, visits to the optometrist may be more frequent. Children often have 'unstable' vision when they have problems, meaning that their prescription can change rapidly and relatively frequently. For this reason, children who need glasses to correct myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism should see their doctor more often than children who do not need vision correction.
There are other common childhood disorders that may require additional visits to the optometrist:
- Amblyopia ('lazy eye')
- Strabismus (misaligned or crossed eyes)
- Accommodation problems (focusing and depth perception)
What to Expect at a Pediatric Eye Exam
How a pediatric eye exam is performed depends on the age of the child. For very young babies, it involves examining the eyes for structural defects, as well as checking the infant's ability to follow an object and focus on it. Slightly older children may be asked to perform simple tasks using images instead of letters. School-age children can have a vision exam much like an adult's.
Family Vision Center Provides Pediatric Optometric Care
Here at Family Vision Center, we believe in regular vision care for people of all ages. Pediatric vision screening and comprehensive eye exams are safe, painless, and extremely important for your child's on-going visual health.
To make an appointment, call us at (203) 333-2020 (Bridgeport location) or (203) 377-2020 (Stratford location).