When Should Kids Have Their First Eye Exam?

Keeping your kid’s eyes healthy and thriving is one step in ensuring that they do not miss their developmental milestones. Most parents do not schedule an eye exam for their children until there is an obvious problem. They might not be able to recognize this problem until their child can read the eye chart. By this time, the issue may be worse.


When should you take your child to their first eye exam?


When to Test Your Child’s Eyes


Even the most observant parents can miss vision problems in their child. These problems can start as early as infancy. At this stage, they may not read or talk, but there are other ways they can communicate their vision problems.


Pediatric eye doctors have the training and skills to note these signs. They can evaluate your child’s vision without them saying a word. Therefore, take your child for their first eye exam between six and twelve months.


Why Take Your Child for an Eye Exam


Infants and young children need eye exams to mitigate vision loss. Otherwise, the eye problems may continue until it is too late to fix them. A child’s neural system continues developing until seven to eight years old. Hence, addressing vision problems before then will save them from a lifetime of vision issues.


Goals of the Eye Exam


These eye exams are easy and do not have as many tests as those of adults. The pediatric eye doctor has three goals.


  • To rule out nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
  • To rule out eye diseases like tumors, retinal disorders, and congenital cataracts.
  • To rule out eye muscle and binocular problems.


What Happens?


The exam will begin with an evaluation of your baby’s history. They will check how your child’s eyes move and if they are in alignment. They will also note how the eyes react to changes in light and darkness.


To confirm if your child is myopic or hyperopic, they will check which distance their vision is clear. Does your child see closer objects better than those at a distance or vice versa? It is good to note that most babies are hyperopic at birth.


They will also check the shape of the eyes to know if they have astigmatism. Lastly, they will check if one eye is weaker than the other. It can happen when the brain area of one eye does not fully develop.


Signs Your Child Has Vision Issues


These may not always be obvious, especially in children who are still developing communication skills. However, they may be easy to detect in children who can communicate and prematurely born babies. If your child is still developing their communication, you can check for the following signs.


  • Minimal eye contact.
  • Delayed motor development.
  • Excessive eye rubbing and blinking.


If they can communicate and are old enough to go to school, you will hear them complain about their vision. They may start failing exams, and those who participate in sports may hang back and not play anymore. Be on the lookout for these signs but before then, take your child for their eye exam before they are one year old.


For more information on taking your child for their first eye exam, call Optique Vision at (518) 302-2106 to reach our office in Albany, New York.

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