A pediatric eye exam includes a case history, physical examination, vision testing, and an eye health examination, with a prescription for glasses or treatment as required. For infants, the doctor checks to see if the baby will “follow” a moving object and check the pupil’s response to light. Even children who are too young to read can have a visual exam. Eye charts with symbols like squares and circles are used instead of letter charts.
Five to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have some sort of vision problem. Prevention and early intervention are always better than trying to solve a long-standing problem. Sometimes a very simple treatment can resolve the situation. For example, “lazy eye” occurs when one eye has a visual deficiency. Simply covering the good eye and forcing the weak eye to work harder can solve the problem.
The American Optometric Association recommends that eye exams begin within the first six months of life. Children should have another eye exam at about age three, and just before they enter first grade around six. These eye exams are often conducted by a pediatrician or family doctor, who will make a referral to a specialist if necessary. School-aged children need eye exams every two years. Those who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, however, should be seen annually unless that doctor makes a different recommendation. It's best to schedule an eye exam for a time when the child is usually alert and happy.
Lazy eye (amblyopia) occurs when one eye has decreased vision; it is often solved with an eye patch to strengthen the weak eye. Strabismus is crossed or misaligned eyes, often related to muscle control problems in the eye. Children may have trouble focusing when objects are close, or have difficulties with depth perception or color vision. Children may also develop eye infections or a sty (an infection of the eyelash follicle).
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!