Children's vision care is essential to every child's development. Experts say that over 80 percent of what a child learns in school is presented visually, so making sure your son or daughter has good vision can make a big difference in their academic performance.
Routine eye exams for children can detect any nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism your child has so it can be promptly treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Routine exams are also needed to make sure your child's eyes are healthy and to rule out amblyopia, strabismus and other binocular vision problems that may interfere with your child's vision development, academic performance and sports vision.
As a parent, you may wonder whether your preschooler has a vision problem or when you should schedule your child's first eye exam.
Eye exams for children are extremely important, because 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems.* Early identification of a child's vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early.
According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade — at about age 5 or 6.
As a parent, you probably wonder how we can assess an infant or young child’s eyes. Our doctors are skilled at adjusting the type of examination for the child’s age. We use age appropriate vision targets, and keep it fun for the child. The young child can sit on mom or dad’s lap. Also, much of the early years’ examination is about the Doctor’s examination. We may start asking for verbal input from the two year old and up, but that is not critical, and depends on the level of shyness or attentiveness from the child. Regardless, the doctor will be able to assess the critical development of the visual system- eye muscles, vision prescription measurement, and eye health. The main thing to realize is that your child does not have to be able to speak in order for the Doctor to get a proper vision assessment.
If any vision condition should be identified, the Doctor will outline any extra testing that will be required, such as drops to dilate and relax the focusing system; Frequency of follow up (often monitored more frequently such as one to six month reviews); And if Glasses, Eye patching, Eye Exercises (older children), or even referrals to other specialists should be required.
Overall, you will be sure to find the examination a comfortable and interesting process for your child. We look forward to initiating vision care for your child’s sight for life.