When to perform a pediatric eye exam? According to the American Optometric Association, a child should have an initial assessment between 6 and 12 months of age. From age 3-5, comprehensive eye examinations should be performed annually up to age 18 to help detect any abnormalities as their eyes develop.
The initial assessment of an infant’s eyes and visual system prior to the age of 12 months evaluates the responses of the pupils to light, the ability to fixate on an object and follow, ocular alignment, refractive status, and ocular health.
For a Preschooler, between the ages of 3 and 5, a child’s visual acuity and eye alignment should be assessed. If the child is diagnosed with misaligned eyes (strabismus), “lazy eye” (amblyopia), refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism) or any other focusing problems, it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible to ensure successful vision correction and life-long benefits.
Upon entering school and throughout these formative years, comprehensive eye examinations should be performed by an optometrist annually. In this age group, myopia is the most common refractive error and can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. There are some signs that parents can tell if their child has a vision problem. For example, the child may squint, hold reading materials very close to their face, or complain about things appearing blurry. However, there are some less obvious signs that may indicate vision problems, such as having a short attention span, quickly losing interest in games, projects or activities, or losing their place when reading. The importance of having children examined by an optometrist is critical to finding vision problems early and treating them appropriately.