Children’s eye health begins in the newborn phase when pediatricians first evaluate their eyesight. For many babies, this evaluation may be sufficient for the first few months of life. But children should also have their vision formally checked several times before beginning elementary school. This is especially important if there is a family history of vision or eyesight issues or a child is showing symptoms of difficulty with their vision.
At Premier Eye Care Group, our team of trusted eye care professionals recommend formal eye exams for your child at the following intervals:
Infant Years (Ages 0-2)
As an infant, children should have their vision checked to ensure there are not any developmental irregularities. Some vision tests that may be done by your child’s trained ophthalmologist or optometrist include:
- Pupil Response – Evaluate whether the child’s pupil opens and closes properly in the presence and absence of light.
- Fixate and Follow – This test determines whether your baby’s eyes are able to fixate on and follow an object, such as a light as it moves. As a rule of thumb, infants should be able to fixate on an object soon after birth (such as a ceiling fan) and follow an object by the time they are 3 months old (tracking a parent).
- Preferential Looking – Since no infant can read letters off of a typical eye chart, vision capabilities can be tested in different ways for young babies. This type of vision test involves using cards that are blank on one side with stripes on the other side to attract the infant’s gaze to the stripes.
Toddler Years (Ages 3-4)
A full eye exam should be completed by the age of three to prevent any loss of vision due to how children’s eyes work together. Some common eye tests for young children include:
- LEA Symbols – Instead of having children recite letters from a typical eye chart, young children are asked to name special symbols shown on the charts, such as an apple, house, square and circle.
- Retinoscopy –This test involves shining a light into a child’s eye to observe the reflection from the back of the eye. It helps to determine the refractive error of the eye, such as farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. This could help justify the need for glasses.
Pre-School (Age 5 or 6)
It is helpful to get your child’s eyes checked before kindergarten, so that he/she is prepared visually to learn in elementary school. Most states require children to get an eye exam done before starting public school. Throughout your child’s schooling, if his/her teacher states that your child is experiencing any of the following on a regular basis while attending school, you should contact an eye care specialist:
- Poor school performance
- No desire to go to school
- Hard time paying attention
- Difficulty reading and writing
- Trouble seeing information on the whiteboard
- Experiencing headaches, blurry vision, or eye pain
- Taking a long time to complete school work
Children’s eyes should continue to be examined once every couple of years from kindergarten to high school graduation to address the natural growth of their eyes. Proper eye care is an important part of a child’s development. It is extremely important that children receive attention regarding their eyesight from an early age to ensure that everything is developing appropriately. That way, diagnosis can be made to treat any eye problems before they worsen or lead to more serious complications.
Premier Eye Care Group consists of a team of four optometrists and one ophthalmologist. Located in the Harrisburg, PA region, we offer a variety of vision services in addition to a variety of eye exams for you and your family. You are sure to be in good hands with Premier Eye Care Group’s extensive knowledge, years of experience, and use of the latest diagnostic technology to treat eyes of all ages. SEE THE POSSIBILITIES!
Contact us today at (717) 232-0843 or via our website to schedule an eye exam for your child today.