As we get closer to the back-to-school season, it’s important to ensure that your child has everything they need to set them up for success in the new school year. This includes getting a pediatric eye exam to check their vision and overall eye health. In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about back-to-school eye exams, including the importance of eye exams, signs that your child may need an eye exam, what to expect during the exam, and how frequently your child should have their eyes checked. 

The importance of eye exams 

Pediatric eye exams are an essential part of your child’s overall health care, as they help to identify and treat vision problems early on before they have a chance to affect your child’s academic performance and quality of life. Undiagnosed vision problems can lead to poor academic performance, difficulty reading and writing, eye strain, headaches, and even behavioral problems in some cases.  

Common vision problems that are found in school-aged children include nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, color blindness, amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (crossed eyes). An eye doctor can diagnose vision problems and provide proper treatment plans to ensure optimal vision health. They can also detect vision problems linked to more severe problems, such as juvenile diabetes or a brain tumor. 

Signs that your child may need an eye exam 

It’s not always easy to detect vision problems in children, as they may not know that they are experiencing vision problems or may not be able to communicate them effectively. Here are some signs that your child may need an eye exam: 

  • Squinting or tilting their head to see 
  • Frequent headaches or eye strain 
  • Rubbing their eyes or blinking excessively 
  • Holding reading materials too close to their face or far away from their face 
  • Difficulty concentrating on reading or other close-up tasks 
  • Disinterest in reading or other close-up tasks 

What to expect during the exam 

During the pediatric eye exam, your child’s eye doctor will perform a series of tests to check their visual acuity, eye tracking, depth perception, eye alignment, and overall eye health. These tests are painless and usually take less than an hour to complete. Your eye doctor may also dilate your child’s pupils to get a better view of the inside of their eyes. They will determine if your child needs eyeglasses or contact lenses or if they require a stronger prescription than their current one. They will also check for early signs of eye disease and other conditions and recommend the best treatment to preserve vision and prevent more serious issues in the future. 

How frequently your child should have their eyes checked 

How often your child should have their eyes checked depends on several factors, including their age and whether they have any pre-existing eye conditions or risk factors. As a general rule, children should have their eyes checked at the following intervals: 

  • Infants: Around 6 months 
  • Preschoolers: At 3 years of age and again before kindergarten  
  • School-age children: Every year or every two years, depending on their eye care needs and what their eye doctor recommends 

A back-to-school eye exam is essential to ensuring your child’s academic success and overall well-being. If you notice any signs that your child may have a vision problem or if they are due for their regular eye exam, schedule an appointment with our eye doctor in Austin or Round Rock today. It’s never too early to prioritize your child’s eye health!