Children’s Eye Exams – Your Questions Answered

December 31, 2019

If you’re a parent, your first concern – always – is your child’s health. That said, many parents are surprised to discover they’re overlooking an important part of their child’s health without realizing it. A child’s eyesight is essential when it comes to effective learning and developing a strong sense of independence. It’s critical for parents to catch any problems with their child’s eyesight before it’s too late. 

We gathered together some of the most common questions parents have regarding eye care for their children. It will only take a few moments to go through the list, and you’re certain to find some of your own questions answered below. 

When should my children get their first vision exam? 

Children as young as six months of age are ready for their first vision test. Although your son or daughter cannot tell you or the eye doctor what they’re seeing, a trained optometrist has the necessary knowledge and equipment to assess the first important milestones in the development of your child’s eyes. These eye tests check the baby’s ability to lock onto an object and track it with their eyes, which is called “fixate and follow”, to measure visual stimulation by choosing striped flash cards over solid white ones, and checking pupil reaction by exposing the child to varying amounts of light and darkness.  

How often should my child’s vision be tested? 

After the exam at six months, the next visit should be at age three, with another before your child starts kindergarten. If your child develops a problem with his or her eyesight during the preschool years, or a vision issue is discovered during an eye exam, you’ll need additional visits as well. 

How can my child have a vision test without knowing their letters? 

If your child can’t identify letters yet, eye charts can be used that include symbols such as apples, houses, circles and squares. A retinoscopy can be used to identify refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism (blurry vision at all distances). This simple test is done by shining a light into the eye to observe the reflection from the retina, the back of the eye. This test can also spot congenital cataracts, which cloud the lens of the eye.  

What happens if one of my child’s eyes is stronger than the other? 

Random dot stereopsis testing uses 3-D glasses and specific patterns of dots that measure how well your child's eyes work together. If your child’s eyes don’t work as a team, more than one image is produced. Typically, the brain learns to suppress the weaker image, which can cause the dominant eye to work too hard, while the other eye weakens.  Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is a common result of this problem. A lazy eye can also be caused by strabismus, a misalignment or crossing of the eyes. If discovered early, an eye patch can be used to correct lazy eye. Children can also suffer from convergence insufficiency (CI), which causes headaches, eyestrain and fatigue while reading. A special test called a Visagraph can help identify this problem. 

Why is it best to choose a pediatric eye doctor near me? 

When you’re dealing with young children, it’s always best to make things as simple as possible. Not only is it important to make the trip short to reduce boredom or stress, you need to find an eye doctor that is able to provide specialized care to children, as well as adult family members. Keep in mind that as your children get a little older, you’ll need to account for major changes in their lives. You may need to schedule appointments on school days, or around various activities such as athletics, dance, study groups or parties. The easier it is to reach your optometrist’s office, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to schedule convenient appointments. 

Speaking of convenient appointments, call 713-360-7095 today to make one for every member of your family with Pro-Optix Eye Care, the Tanglewood and Galleria Area’s leading eye doctors! 

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