As a parent, you might often wonder whether or not your child/preschooler has a vision problem and what the appropriate age would be to schedule your child’s eye exam. Comprehensive eye exams are one of the most important investments a parent can make to help contribute to their child’s overall health and maximize their education, especially since many vision problems may not have an obvious warning sign.
Children may not recognize that their eyesight is not optimal. Eye exams for children are extremely important because an estimated 5-7% of preschool children have significant vision problems and 25% of children between the ages of 6 and 18 years would benefit from corrective lenses. At EyedeologyTM, we recommend that every child has their first eye exam at 6 months of age and annually thereafter.
Children with medical conditions, or a family history of eye conditions are at higher risk for developing eye problems. Children with learning disabilities benefit from a complete eye examination to rule out the presence of anything affecting their eye health. Lastly, children who have developmental delays, disabilities and/or behavioural issues that make it difficult to sit through a routine eye exam benefit immensely from having a comprehensive eye exam by a pediatric optometrist who is skilled in working with children.
A comprehensive pediatric eye exam includes the following elements:
• Assessing the vision in each eye separately
• Eye teaming, alignment of the eyes and evaluation of eye muscles
• Assessing the need for glasses
• Eye health examination (including the inside of the eye)
Parents should keep in mind that a comprehensive eye exam is necessary at an early age to detect any eye conditions which are best treated when they are corrected at a young age while the child’s vision is still developing.