At WH Vision we love seeing your whole family, and we are grateful you trust us with your children’s visual health.
One of the most common questions I get asked is, “When should my kid have an eye exam?”
Both the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend an exam early in life, at age three, and before school starts at four to five, and at six years old. After age five, exams should be scheduled at the direction of your eye doctor, but they should be at least biannually. There is a program for infants called Infantsee. This program allows participating optometrists to give free eye exams to infants between 6-12 months of age. This is the one time in life where the expression “free exam” is actually true!
What do we look for in these exams with non-verbal children?
We are making sure that both eyes see well, that they are focusing and working together, that there is no eye disease present, that ocular development is on track, and ruling out any need for glasses. We can do all of these things without the child needing to say anything to us.
Parents often reply to my question, “Does your child need an eye exam?” by saying that their child sees well so he/she probably doesn’t need one.
There are many reasons why anyone, but especially children, should receive a full eye exam even with good vision. The first and most pressing reason is that many eye diseases do not have accompanying vision loss at first. It is much better in the eye realm to catch things early so that they can be treated before there is a large or permanent problem. Second, there are developmental reasons for eye exams. Amblyopia is a condition where there is no eye disease, but the brain learns to only pay attention to information from one eye leading to poor visual development in the other eye. This means that children with this condition appear to see well, but in reality one eye is doing the majority of the work. Developmental concerns like amblyopia are best addressed early in a child’s life. Third, young children learn like sponges. Most learning occurs through the visual system. Why not make learning easier for your child by giving them the best vision possible?