Good vision is key to a child’s physical development, success in school and overall well-being. The vision system is not fully formed in babies and young children, and equal input from both eyes is necessary for the brain’s vision centers to develop normally. If a young child’s eyes cannot send clear images to the brain, his or her vision may become limited in ways that cannot be corrected later in life. But if problems are detected early, it is usually possible to treat them effectively.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus recommend the following exams:
Newborn: Examination newborn’s eyes and perform a red reflex test (a basic indicator that the eyes are normal).
Infant: A second screening for eye health should be done between six months and the first birthday.
Preschooler: Between the ages of 3 and 3½, a child’s vision and eye alignment should be assessed.
- Visual acuity should be tested as soon as the child is old enough to cooperate with an eye exam using an eye chart. Photoscreening is another way to check visual acuity that does not require a young child to cooperate with the test. Either approach to testing will determine whether the child can focus normally at far, middle and near distances.
School Age: Upon entering school, or whenever a problem is suspected, children’s eyes should be screened for visual acuity and alignment. Nearsightedness (myopia) is the most common refractive error in this age group and can be corrected with eyeglasses.
If you suspect your child may have a vision problem, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today.
Some of the information contained here was adapted from EyeSmart – The American Academy of Ophthalmology