Vision plays a significant part in a child’s physical, cognitive, and social development and is a strong predictor of academic performance in school-age children. Uncorrected vision problems can compromise a child’s development, interfere with their learning, and even lead to the permanent loss of their vision. Early detection, such as with a children’s eye exam, and treatment are critical in setting a child on a positive path for their health and well-being into their adult years.
Besides parents, there are several eye care professionals that can help you along the way.
Professionals such as1:
- Ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors that provide comprehensive eye care with medicine and surgery.
- Pediatric ophthalmologists, who are doctors that have additional training specializing in children’s eye problems.
- Optometrists are similar to ophthalmologists, but the main difference is that they don’t perform surgery. Optometrists can also specialize in children’s eye problems.
- Opticians are professionals that fit and adjust eyeglasses.
Get to know your Eye Care Professionals so that your eye exams can be more informative, and you can feel more at ease when asking questions about your or your family’s eye issues.
When Should your children get an eye exam?
Medical exams for a child’s vision include1,2:
- Newborns should be checked for general eye health by a pediatrician or family physician in the hospital nursery. [High-risk newborns (including premature infants), those with a family history of eye problems, and those with obvious eye irregularities should be examined by an eye doctor.]
- In the first year of life, all infants should be routinely screened for eye health during checkups with their pediatrician or family doctor.
- Around age 3½, kids should have eye health screenings and visual acuity tests (tests that measure the sharpness of vision) with their pediatrician or family doctor.
- Around age 5, kids should have their vision and eye alignment checked by their pediatrician or family doctor. Those who fail either test should be examined by an eye doctor.
- After age 5, routine screenings should be done at school and the primary doctor’s office, and if symptoms such as squinting or frequent headaches occur.
Getting eye exams every other year is average for a school-aged child but if you notice signs that your child may have vision problems, consult your eye care professional on when to schedule their eye exam.
Creating a good eye health routine for you and your child can aid in better eye health. Using products like ComfortClear® to remove debris from the eyelids and lashes and Zenoptiq™ to kill viruses and bacteria* on the eyelids and lashes is a good way to start a new eye health routine.
*27 microorganisms (such as Adenovirus-pink eye, Staphylococcus aureus- staph, and Escherichia coli- E.coli) killed within 30 seconds via time-kill testing done as an independent study performed in an accredited lab on behalf of Focus Laboratories (In Vitro Eradication of Pathogens).