Eye Exams for Children
Many people often associate good eye health with the ability to clearly recognize letters or numbers for the purposes of reading. Eye health, however, is comprised of many components outside of blurred vision, and even children who have yet to learn to read can experience blurred vision that will only worsen as they begin to learn their letters and numbers. Without a clear idea of your child's eye health, you may end up delaying their learning as they enter kindergarten.
Eye exams should begin at birth, though at this age they are usually performed by the baby's normal doctor. If eye infections or vision problems are suspected, then the child will be referred to an eye specialist that can better evaluate the problem. In the first two years of life, babies will be tested to see how they respond to light, how their eyes follow movement, and any presence of nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Once the child is three years old, an eye doctor will begin testing their vision using pictures and images known as LEA symbols. Eye doctors will examine eye alignment and observe whether the child is able to focus properly when objects move closer or further away. A retinoscopy, or a test to measure the reflection in the retina, is a useful tool when dealing with patients who are too young to provide subjective judgments on what they see. Another condition optometrists will be on the lookout for is amblyopia, or the presence of a lazy eye. Like most eye problems, this condition stands a better chance of being treated if caught early on in the child’s life.
When the child reaches school age, examinations should be done every two years. At this age, the optometrist will begin to rely on the child to help determine the best prescription for their eyes by reading an eye chart. An eye doctor will also screen for proper depth perception using a test called Random Dot Stereopsis. Images are viewed through a stereoscope and the child identifies when they perceive depth.
If your child is at risk of developing eye problems as determined by early testing, it may be necessary to schedule an eye exam every year instead. Even though schools sometimes do eye screenings, it’s still important for you to keep up with your child’s eye health on your own.
Other screenings may involve the use of eye drops, which can make some children uncomfortable. Consult your eye doctor in advance so you know how best to prepare your child for their exam. If you have any questions, or you’d like to schedule an appointment for your child, visit this website for more information on a pediatric optometrist in Chula Vista.
Jessica is an experienced eye care specialist. You can find her thoughts at storify blog.
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