As a parent you may be asking yourself, when should I take my child to the eye doctor and how often? Experts have recommended that a child should have their first eye exam at age 6 months, then again at age 3 and before the first grade (5 or 6 years old). Following the first grade, annual eye exams for children with glasses and every two years is recommended for children without vision problems. Your health care professional may suggest more frequent visits if you have a family history of eye disease or you child has had serious eye injury -- please consult with your physician.
Good eyesight is important for your child to do well in school as well as sports and early detection of certain types of eye diseases can make treatment more successful. Some eye diseases, if left untreated may cause permanent vision loss. Before the examination, take notes of any unusual symptoms concerning your child’s eyes. Have they been blinking excessively, frequently rubbing their eyes or failing to maintain eye contact? If your child is of school age and has recently had difficulty reading or keeping up with schoolwork, it may be a good idea to mention this to the doctor as well. This could be a symptom of poor eyesight. Your child may be having difficulty seeing the blackboard, causing them to a have hard time following in the classroom.
An optometrist will evaluate many factors in your child’s eye health and find any cause of discomfort. The doctor will examine their eyes to detect issues in ability to focus, peripheral awareness, hand eye coordination, colour blindness, near and far sight, eye movement, depth perception as well as a few other visual skills. There are many tests conducted during your child’s eye exam and the exam may feel long and tiring some children. Scheduling a time when your kid is usually happy and alert is key to a successful eye doctor visit. Don’t forget, the optometrist may also ask about your family’s medical history, child’s allergies as well as your child’s perinatal history, so remember to have this information ready for your child’s first eye exam.
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