Eye Exams for Babies and Toddlers | Long Island Eye Doctor
While the eyes of babies and toddlers are checked during well-child visits at the pediatrician’s office, the American Optometric Association says that toddlers should also have eye exams by an optometrist as well.
The truth is that some primary care doctors simply are not properly trained to give eye exams. Some are not comfortable doing these exams and some pediatricians are too hurried to give the type of thorough eye exam that will be given in the office of an optometrist. Eyes are the specialty of an optometrist and therefore children get the most thorough eye vision exam possible at the office of an optometrist.
The American Optometric Association recommends that eye exams be given to children at the age of six months, three years, and just prior to the beginning of kindergarten. After that, an exam every year or 18 months should suffice, unless your child is experiencing vision problems.
If there are reasons for your child to be at particular risk for eye problems, your family eye doctor might suggest that your child have his or her eyes checked more often. These risks include premature birth, developmental delay, a history of eye diseases in your family, injuries to the eye or previous eye disease, certain medications that your child may take, or some diseases which can affect the eyes such as diabetes.
How Should Parents Prepare Small Children for Eye Exams
Once your child is old enough to understand that he will be seeing the eye doctor, you should sit down and have a chat with your child. Explain that your child will be asked to look at pictures, letters or numbers and that the eye doctor will ask what your child is seeing and that perhaps the doctor will shine a light in his eyes. Tell him that the doctor may put eye drops in his eyes which won’t hurt but might sting just a little bit.
Tests for Children’s Eyes
- Before the age of twelve months, your Long Island Eye Doctor can check your child’s eyes for any signs of nearsightedness (a problem with seeing objects which are far away), farsightedness (problems seeing items which are close), astigmatism (improperly curved surface of the eye which causes blurred vision), or amblyopia (“lazy eye.”) Your optometrist will also check that your child’s eyes move properly, that his eyes are aligned properly, that his eyes react correctly to light and dark, and for any other eye problems. Eye disease must be caught early as good eyesight is based on great treatment.
- Once your child reaches the age of three, your eye doctor will conduct another physical exam of the eye and also do a vision test which will test how well your child sees. Optometrists use special tests which are meant for children who cannot yet read. This is a good time to detect lazy eye, or amblyopia. When detected early, children may be protected from the vision loss associated with amblyopia.
Your child’s vision is a precious! Have your child’s eyes examined by your trusted optometrist to get the very best vision care possible and to insure the health of your child’s eyes.