Our expert, caring team of eye doctors provides comprehensive eye health and vision care for every member of the family, including babies and children. Regular pediatric eye exams are an essential part of children’s healthcare, necessary to diagnose and treat any eye health or vision issues. We love working with children and helping them see clearly to discover a whole new world.
When does your child need to visit the eye doctor?
Your child should have their first eye exam at 6 months, followed by a second exam at three years old and again before they enter kindergarten. For school-aged children, you should schedule an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required, or as directed by the eye doctor. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be seen annually or as recommended by the eye doctor.
Our comprehensive pediatric eye exam includes a case history, vision testing, determination of whether eyeglasses are needed, testing eye alignment, an eye health evaluation, and prescribing eyeglasses if necessary.
Why are eye exams important for children?
It’s important for children to have regular eye exams, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early. Vision is essential to learning. Eighty percent of all learning is visual, which means children with vision problems have a huge disadvantage. Pediatric eye exams ensure children have the following visual skills necessary for effective reading and writing:
- Excellent vision for near, up-close work and distance.
- Comfortable and correct “eye teaming,” which means the eyes work well together and can focus on the same place in space.
- The ability to adjust focus to see clearly at different distances.
- Accurate eye movement skills, such as the ability to read a line of text.
There are several common refractive and visual issues that can be identified in children during a pediatric eye exam.
Children with myopia have trouble seeing distant objects clearly but can usually see close-up objects just fine. This can cause difficulty in seeing the board in school or in sports that require good distance vision.
Children with hyperopia have trouble seeing close-up objects clearly but can usually see distant objects without difficulty. This can cause difficulty in reading or focusing on near objects for extended periods of time.
Children with astigmatism have an irregularly shaped cornea or lens that causes blurry or distorted vision at all distances.
Amblyopia (lazy eye)
This occurs when the brain favors one eye over the other, leading to decreased vision in the “lazy” eye. This can be corrected with early detection and treatment.
Strabismus (crossed eyes)
This is a misalignment of the eyes that can cause double vision, depth perception problems, and difficulty with eye contact.
Children with color blindness have difficulty distinguishing between certain colors or shades of color.
Regular pediatric eye exams can help detect these issues early on and allow for prompt treatment, which can significantly improve a child’s visual development and overall quality of life.
What are the signs of vision problems in children?
Vision problems in children can be the hardest to detect. Children don’t always know they have a vision problem and may think everyone sees the way they do. The good news is many vision problems and eye issues can be identified during a comprehensive pediatric eye exam with a qualified optometrist. If left untreated, these problems can affect a child’s vision permanently and lead to developmental delays and learning issues. Regular pediatric eye exams will help ensure early detection and treatment of issues to avoid lifelong visual impairment.
Signs your child should see a pediatric optometrist:
- Frequent blinking, squinting, or irregular eye movements
- Frequently turning or tilting their head
- Covering or closing one eye to see better
- Poor hand-eye coordination or motor skills
- Rubbing their eyes frequently
- Frequent headaches
- Leaning in too close to see something or read
- Learning difficulties and poor handwriting
If your child displays any of these behaviors, they may have a vision or eye health problem and should see an eye doctor. However, it’s important to remember that your child may exhibit no symptoms and still have an eye or vision issue.
Schedule a pediatric eye exam
We all want our children to have the best start in life, and good vision is crucial to achieving that. Our experienced pediatric optometrists use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to check for any vision problems that could be hindering your child’s ability to learn, play, and grow.
Don’t wait until your child starts struggling in school or sports to get their eyes checked. Early detection and treatment of vision problems can prevent more serious issues down the road. Plus, regular eye exams can help identify conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eyes) that may require early intervention to correct.
At Northwest Hills Eye Care, we are committed to providing comprehensive and personalized eye care for your child. So, schedule an appointment with us today and give your child the gift of clear vision!