Eye Examinations for Children

by Jan 8, 2019

Eyes and vision play an important role in learning and development. For this reason, eye exams for children are essential to protect their ocular health and vision. Comprehensive examinations with your optometrist can rule out any ocular diseases in the back of the eye, determine whether or not your child needs glasses, and assess whether any additional ocular or visual risks are present. Read on to learn more about children’s eye exams, and why they are important in protecting children’s vision.


children's eye exam


When Should My Children Receive an Eye Examination?

The American Optometric Association recommends that children have their eyes checked at sixmonths old, around three-years old, and again before entering grade school. This allows the optometrist to see the child multiple times throughout critical developmental periods to ensure the visual system is healthy and working properly. Some risk factors, such as prematurity, low birth weight, or certain birth or pregnancy complications, might require sooner or more frequent examination during childhood,


What Does a Pediatric Eye Exam Entail?

Eye exams for children are focused around the development of the visual system and the specific visual tasks children can and should be performing at that age. At six-months old, children are not expected to be able to perfectly see 20/20, but they should be able to fixate on an appropriate target and track it when it’s moved. Optometrists use a method known as preferential-looking to determine visual capabilities. If an infant looks at the side of a card with an interesting object on it, rather than a blank space, the doctor knows the infant is able to see the stimulus. The optometrist also has objective methods to determine whether a glasses prescription is required. At three-years old, the child is able to give more feedback during the exam that can help indicate visual function. Many of the same objective testing will be performed to determine whether glasses are needed at this time. Before grade school, the child should be able to see 20/20 and give responses in regards to a glasses prescription. The optometrist will be able to perform more tests that evaluate how the eyes are working together and whether or not there is a need for glasses. At all three of these exams, the ocular health should be evaluated. This oftentimes includes dilating drops that allows the doctor to fully evaluate the back of the eye.


What Eye Problems Can Be Detected?

Pediatric eye examinations do more than determine whether glasses are needed. Tests are performed to determine whether any binocular vision problems are present. This can include detecting a strabismus (when an eye turns in or out) and problems with convergence or accommodation, which are processes that allow our eyes to focus on up-close objects and are vital in reading and learning. In addition to binocular vision problems, children’s eye exams will fully assess the health of the eye. The optometrist will closely evaluate the entire eye, from front to back, to ensure there are no health problems or abnormalities that need addressed.


If your children are in need of an eye exam, your optometrists at Neal Eye Group are here to help!  Call us at (610) 828-9701 to make an appointment for an eye exam with the Neal Eye Group.  We serve Norristown, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, and East Norriton.

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