Some people don’t have their first eye exam until adulthood. Others started getting their eyes checked before they started school. The latter is the way to go: pediatric eye care is something parents should care about as much as getting their kids into a good school or making sure they get their shots. Taking your children to an eye doctor is a smart way to ensure any issues can be treated before they start school, a place where clear vision is essential for effective learning.
But how exactly does an eye doctor test a baby’s vision? Babies can hardly recite the alphabet let alone read an eye chart. And since doctors recommend getting your baby’s eyes tested starting from six months, you may be a little curious about how a doctor can determine whether your child’s vision is good.
Your Doctor Will Consider Your Baby’s Family History
Your eye doctor will first determine if there is any family history of eye diseases that they should be on the lookout for in your baby. Having an idea of what to expect is the easiest way to prevent any issues that could hinder your child’s pediatric eye care, so understanding your baby’s family history (or birth family history if they were adopted) is a necessary first step during their first eye exam.
They Will Check Your Baby’s Eyes For Any Signs of Allergies or Disease
Using a penlight, your pediatric eye care specialist will examine your child’s eyes to look for any discharge and signs of injury or infection. This is also an opportunity to determine whether your child has any allergies that may affect their eyes. While they are examining the structure of your child’s eye, the doctor will also see how reactive your child’s eyes are to any light.
Your Doctor Will Analyze Your Child’s Eye Movements
Your pediatric eye specialist may ask you to bring your child’s favorite toy or something that is sure to attract their attention. Typically, eye doctors test our eye movements using a penlight. For young children, doctors will track how their eyes follow something they are interested in to determine how well they can focus on an object.
They will also test to see how well your baby can do this with one eye shut, and test both the left and right eye. For instance, if one eye is capable of following an object but your child struggles with the other, then it is likely a sign they are experiencing difficulties in that eye.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends parents take their children to get their eyes tested at 6 months, some time between 3 and 4 years old, around 5 years, and every two years thereafter. It’s especially important while they are in school since they will be going through changes and will need to have their eyes checked regularly to see if they need a prescription or their prescription needs to be adjusted.
There are a few tell-tale signs that your child should get an eye exam immediately. These include, if your child’s eyes don’t move together, they jump around too often after three months old, or they experience some sort of eye injury.
With pediatric eye care, it’s best to start early, not only to catch issues (although that’s a very big part of it) but also to ensure that you have a point of reference for future changes in your child’s vision. Give us a call and book an eye exam with one of our pediatric eye care specialists at Eye Associates of Tallahassee right here in Tallahassee, Florida.