There are a lot of eye specialists for kids such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They provide an expert assessment of your child’s eye health and vision. Eye exams for kids are extremely important because these tests can assure you that their eyes are healthy and they do not have vision impairments. Having healthy eyes will help them perform well in school and could protect them in dangerous circumstances.
According to a study from the National Institutes of Health, about 35% of preschoolers are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism. Poor eyesight can interfere with their studies and it is during these years wherein it is crucial for your kids to develop their visual skills such as excellent visual acuity at all distances, accurate and comfortable eye teaming skills, accurate eye movement skills, accurate and comfortable focusing skills for optimal learning.
When should you have your child’s eyes examined?
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommended that infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. At the age of three, parents should have their toddler’s eyes have additional eye exams and just before they start school – at about age five or six, you can have their eyes checked again.
How many times should you have your kid’s eyes checked?
For children who are already attending school and does not require any vision correction, the AOA recommends having their eyes checked every two years. For children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses, they have to examined annually or as recommended by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
What can you expect at a child’s eye exam?
Before anything else, your doctor will ask about your child’s health, activities, eye problems, and any other health problems that could lead to vision impairment. Then, eye examinations will be done.
What eye exams will your child have?
- Vision (visual acuity) test – Doctors will test how well your child sees at different distances. If your child can read, they will use the standard eye chart. If not, they can use shapes or a single letter in different positions also called as the “tumbling E” test.
- Pupil test – Doctors will check how your child’s eyes respond to light. The doctor shines a bright light in each eye for a moment to see if the pupil reacts normally.
- Eye movement test – The doctor or eye technician moves a toy or finger in different directions to check how your child’s eyes follow it. They will also check your child’s side (peripheral) vision.
How are eye exams done for children?
Step 1: The doctor checks the frontal part of your kid’s eyes which includes the eyelids, cornea, and lens.
Step 2: Eye drops are placed in your child’s eyes to dilate the pupil. This allows the doctor to check your child’s retina and optic nerve that are found at the back of the eye.
Step 3: Wait for about thirty to forty minutes allowing the pupil to open up.
Step 4: The doctor will use a penlight and lenses to examine the back of your child’s eye.
Your child might complain of having a blurry vision from the dilation and they may find it difficult to read but these effects are normal and they usually last for about 12 – 24 hours.
How can I improve my child’s vision naturally?
- Eye shift exercise – let your child stand at least 10 feet away from a wall while holding a pencil between her eyes and the wall. Let your child focus on the pencil, then focus on the wall. You can even hang a calendar on the wall and ask him or her to read the dates to make the eye exercise more effective.
- Follow the ball – Hang any object such as a ball or paperclip with a string. Let your child focus on the object as you swing it back and forth. Repeat this exercise while swinging side to side. Make sure your child does not do any head movement. He or she should follow the object using their eyes.
- Eye circles – Let your child rotate their eyes clockwise in a circular motion and blink once after. Have them do it again in a counter-clockwise circular motion and then blink. Repeat this process several times. Make sure your child is blinking properly after every circle.
- Eye writing – Let your child write something using their eyes without them moving their heads.
- Memory games – show your child a picture briefly allowing them to memorize what they just saw. The more your child can recall, it can help your child enhance their cognitive abilities and vision.
Your child is very dependent on you. How you take care of their well-being will reflect their success in the future. Their eyesight is as important as their health because having a perfect vision can help them reach their full potential.
At our Fresno Office, we use the “Welch Allyn Spot Vision Screener” that allows us to evaluate the vision of our patients starting at 6 months of age. We are happy to announce that we have recently acquired the newest version of this machine for our Madera Office. For a vision evaluation, contact us at (559) 728-4133 (Fresno Office) or (559) 673-6085 (Madera Office).
Your child’s future depends on you!