Your child’s eye health is as important as their physical health, so you might be wondering, ‘When should I have my child’s eyes checked?’ It’s vital to take your child to the eye doctor as regularly as possible to help treat any vision concerns, but just how frequently should they go?
When to Have Your Child’s Eyes Examined
When your child is 6 months old, they can have their first comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist. At age 3, you should bring your child in for another appointment. Your child’s next visit to the eye doctor should happen annually from age 6. There are also other situations when you need to have their eyes tested sooner. For toddlers and infants, here’s how you know when to have their eyes examined:
- Their eyes tear up frequently.
- They have light sensitivity.
- Their eyelids are red or swollen.
Older children may present other symptoms of needing an exam. For instance, if they wear glasses but mention that their eyes hurt, or they squint or tilt their head when looking at digital devices, they may benefit from a sooner eye exam and possibly glasses. Learning challenges in school are also strong indicators of needing vision correction. Therefore, if your child has any of these symptoms, an eye exam is necessary.
Vision Screenings vs. Comprehensive Eye Exams
Your child may need their vision checked regularly, but what are your options? First, many schools perform vision screenings. While a vision screening can assess how your child sees objects at a distance, what it can’t do is diagnose eye issues. Therefore, even if your child can see 20/20, there might still be concerns, and you’ll want to bring your child to an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam to find out for sure.
What should you expect at your child’s eye exam? The doctor will test for refractive errors, such as astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. They will also check eye movement, how the eyes are aligned, and how the eyes respond to light. To make sure your child’s vision is developing at the proper rate, the optometrist will look for any signs of eye diseases. By identifying these issues early enough, the eye doctor can streamline treatment.
Summary: When should I have my child’s eyes checked?
Vision screenings are helpful to stay on top of your child’s vision, but comprehensive eye exams are needed, too. It’s essential to bring your child to see an optometrist for a thorough exam to identify issues and test their eyesight.
When you should have your child’s eyes checked depends on their age and eye health. For instance, you should bring your child in at 6 months old, 3 years old, and annually after age 6. However, if your child is exhibiting signs of vision loss, such as eye strain or squinting, stop in sooner. It’s better to correct eye issues while they’re still new.