As an optometrist, I am often asked when a child should have his first eye examination. Children’s visual systems are not fully developed at birth, therefore, the first examination is usually at age 6 months. By that time, it is possible to determine whether a baby has significant nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
The next examination should occur at age 3. By this time, the child should have developed vision roughly equal to that of an adult. By this age, I am able to check a child’s color vision, depth perception, peripheral vision, as well as ocular health and whether there is any need to provide corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Parents should look for eye turns or crossed eyes; inability to track moving objects; holding things unusually closely; or poor navigational skills that result in a child frequently bumping into things.
By age 3, the presence of a lazy eye or can be detected and corrected. In fact, when caught this early, the eye has the best chance of being stimulated to achieve its maximum visual potential.
The next examination should occur prior to entering school. Without good vision, a child is at a disadvantage from the beginning of his academic career. Poor vision can not only lead to learning problems, but also behavioral problems.
During school years, safety eyewear is also important. Most kids are involved in some type of intramural sport. In addition to the appropriate pads, and helmets, it is critical that they also have the appropriate eyewear to protect from injuries.
As the child approaches his teens, he is likely to become more interested in contact lenses. While there is no age limit for contact lens use, as a parent, you can be a good judge of your child’s level of responsibility. The most important issue is whether your teen is likely to adhere to good contact lens hygiene.
Schedule an appointment for your child today.