Eye exams are recommended for children starting at the age of 6 months. During the early years of your child’s vision development, they are learning to focus on objects near and far, to coordinate both eyes to work together (e.g., depth perception), and to coordinate the eyes to work with other parts of the body (e.g., eye-hand coordination).
Children’s routine eye exams will allow you to ensure your child’s vision development milestones are progressing well. Regular eye exams in children are very important because many eye conditions have a better prognosis if diagnosed and treated early in a child’s life during critical development stages. Poor eyesight and focusing abilities can hinder a child’s progress at school because 80% of learning is done through vision.
It is important for parents to know that often times, there are no signs that their child has vision problems. Research data show that one in five children will have an ocular problem that their parents will be unaware of. For example, if a child has one eye that sees well and a fellow eye that is weak, they become dependent on the better eye and their weaker eye unknowingly becomes worse over time. If this is left untreated, the weaker eye could end up with permanent vision loss.
Your optometrist can use different techniques to assess vision, even if the patient can’t speak or recognize letters. Some tools include videos to keep their focus while we use lights and lenses to measure their prescription, to 3D books to check how well their eyes work as a team. A child’s eye exam includes tests that assess depth perception, color vision, focusing abilities, eye muscle balance, and eye health.