What You Need To Know About Pediatric Eye Exams

Eye exams are regular parts of your healthcare routine. But, what about your child? Your child needs to get her vision checked too. Understanding the what's, when's and why's of pediatric eye examinations is part of parenting, and part of your child's vision health.

What Are Pediatric Eye Exams?

Basically, they're like the exams that you get. The optometrist or optician checks your child's vision and makes sure that her eyes are healthy. The vision pro may need to use drops to dilate your child's eyes. This can be a challenge for some children. The office staff may ask you to talk to your child about this beforehand and stay nearby during the drop administration.

When Should Children Get Checked?

This depends on whether your child is at risk for a vision problem, has symptoms or is completely symptom free. Children who were born prematurely, are low birth weight or had a medical issue that could affect their vision or eyes should see an eye doctor more frequently than children who have no health issues. The American Optometric Association recommends that children who are risk-free and have no irregular symptoms have their vision checked at 6-months, 3-years and one other time before entering first grade. After that, most children should have regular eye exams every two years (unless there's a problem).

Why Are Eye Exams Important for Children?

For the same reason that they're important for you. Exams allow for early detection of possible problems, make sure that your child's eyes are healthy and help her to see better (if needed). Children may not realize that they aren't seeing correctly or may not tell an adult that they're having a vision issue. Your child might not be able to see the board at school. Instead of rushing to tell you, she might hide her symptom or not even understand that something is wrong. Suddenly, her grades are slipping and you don't know why. A simple vision exam could catch the problem and help her to fix it. Along with that, sometimes symptoms (such as a headache) may not be seen as a sign that there's a vision issue.

Pediatric eye exams are part of your child's overall healthcare routine. Like the well-visits that she goes to at the pediatrician's office, these help to keep her healthy and happy. Stick to a regular appointment schedule and let the eye doctor know if any problems or issues creep up in between.