Image via Pexels
As a new parent, you may be wondering when to schedule your child’s first eye exam. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first complete eye exam at six months of age. Following their first comprehensive exam, children should have additional eye exams starting at age three and just before they enter kindergarten or first grade at about age five or six. It’s important for children to have eye exams early, as 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems.
Early eye exams generally include evaluating patient history, visual field testing, testing for eye alignment, eye health evaluation and if needed, prescription of eyewear. The goal is to find out how healthy your child’s eyes are, if his or her vision is clear, and how well his or her eyes are working together. However, the way eye exams are conducted depends on your child’s age.
If your child is an infant, your baby’s eyes are tested for pupil responses, vision capabilities and to determine if their eyes are able to fixate and follow an object. Children who are heading into kindergarten or first grade are tested on their focusing ability, depth perception, color vision, and for common vision problems. If there is a vision problem detected, such as a lazy eye or astigmatism, children are often more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early. This ensures your child has the visual skills he or she needs to perform well in school.
Eye exams don’t have to be scary. Preparing your child for their first exam can make all the difference, reassuring them nothing bad will happen. Depending on your child’s age, it’s good to talk to him or her before going in for their exam. Here, you can explain what will happen during the appointment and that the doctor is just making sure his or her eyes are healthy. Another good idea to make your child feel more comfortable during his or her first exam is to role-play your visit; make a pretend eye chart, practice covering one eye and reading letters, and discuss what eye drops are and how they won’t hurt. The key is to make your child feel as comfortable as possible.
The day of the appointment, try to ease any fears or concerns your child might have. Talk about the exam in an upbeat manner and go over the basics again by enacting a pretend eye exam. Let your child bring a toy or coloring book to the appointment to keep busy while you wait. This will help prevent your child from becoming more anxious as the time passes. Most importantly, make sure you are prepared as well. Make a list of your child’s current medications, health problems, allergies and a list of questions or concerns you would like to discuss with the doctor. Be sure to also mention any vision problems you have noticed, such as frequent eye rubbing, excessive blinking or a lack of eye contact.
When you are ready to schedule your child’s first eye exam, stop by Marano Eye Care to request an appointment with one of our highly skilled doctors. Our dedicated team has expert experience in diagnosing and treating a variety of different eye conditions in children, ensuring your child has healthy and normal vision. Contact us today for any questions you may have about your child’s first eye exam. We look forward to hearing from you!