How Often Should Children Have Eye Exams?
The first 6 years of your child’s life are when your child’s eyes are at their most vulnerable. These years are critical developmental years when your child learns how to use their eyes and develops strong visual skills. These years are also when your child is most susceptible to developing harmful vision changes.
Regular eye exams are essential for maintaining your child’s ocular health and ensuring their eyes are developing properly, correcting vision problems, and detecting signs of more serious conditions. Children should have an eye exam that corresponds to their visual needs based on their age.
Infants & Toddlers (Birth to 2 Years)
Even if there’s no sign of a vision problem, you should bring your baby in for their first eye exam at 6 months of age. During the first 4 months of life, your baby’s eyes improve significantly and become their primary way of engaging with the world around them.
During this first exam, your optometrist checks your baby’s eyes for many things, including refraction errors, eye movement, eye alignment, and overall ocular health. While eye health problems aren’t common in children, early diagnosis and early treatment give your child the best chance to overcome them.
Preschoolers (2 to 5 Years)
The preschool years are critical in your child’s visual development. During these years, they start fine-tuning their visual abilities, like eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills, and visual perceptual skills necessary for reading and writing.
To ensure your child has no vision problems, they should undergo an eye exam performed by an optometrist at least once between the ages of 2 and 5. Your optometrist will check that your child’s eyes are developing properly and look for early signs of possible eye disease. If a problem is found, we’ll ensure your child receives the right prescription or treatment plan to correct it.
School-Aged Children (6 to 17 Years)
Strong, healthy eyes are a major key to helping your child succeed in school. Undiagnosed vision problems during these essential developmental years can lead to struggles in school or cause your child to avoid activities and games they might enjoy. As your child grows and moves through grades at school, their eyes will be met with increased demands, like reading, studying, homework, and extracurricular activities.
While your child is in school, annual eye exams will help ensure their eyes are healthy and that vision problems won’t hold them back. During an eye exam, your optometrist will check their:
- Visual acuity: the ability to see clearly at varying distances.
- Eye focusing: the ability to focus when looking at objects at different distances.
- Eye tracking: the ability to follow (or track) an object accurately.
- Binocular vision: the eyes’ ability to work together as a team (needed for depth perception).