When Should Kids Have an Eye Exam?

by Aug 15, 2022Pediatrics

Kids of all ages should have regular eye health exams even if they do not wear glasses. Routine eye health exams are a vital part of preventing eye disease and catching other health or learning problems early.

 

First Eye Exam (6 months to 1 year old)

The first eye exam should be performed once the child is 6 months old and before the first birthday. This exam can be no charge if the eye doctor is a part of the InfantSee program which provides free eye exams for children in this age range.

At this first eye examination, the overall health of the eyes is checked to make sure that there is no eye disease that will affect the development of the child.

Major eye conditions can be identified and treated at this first eye examination including large amounts of nearsightedness or farsightedness, an eye turn, or a tumor in the eye.

 

Toddlers and Preschoolers

Most toddlers and preschoolers should have an eye exam once every two years. This eye exam is to make sure that the eyes, vision, and visual perception are all developing appropriately.

During this stage of development, the children begin to use their eyes more intentionally and develop skills such as tracking an object and converging or crossing their eyes.

Also, children this age begin to have more active play and may have decreased interest in age level activities if their vision is reduced.

At this eye exam, more screening tests will be performed to make sure that the eyes and vision are developing appropriately.

If glasses are needed, a prescription can be written for glasses at this eye exam.

 

School Aged Children

Once children are in school, they should have eye exams every year. These eye exams should be a comprehensive eye health exam and not just a vision screening at a school or pediatrician’s office.

In school, vision and visual perception are more important than in the preschool years. As a result of the increase in demand, there may be new problems develop or worsen.

By the age of five, if glasses will be needed, it can usually be determined with good accuracy to provide clear and comfortable vision.

In addition to providing clear vision with glasses, these eye exams can identify problems with reading or other school related skills.

If there are headaches, eye strain, or eye fatigue, then an eye exam can be a useful step to rule out any vision problems.

 

Eye Exams for Teenagers

For teenagers, eye exams begin to focus on clear vision for important skills such as driving and reading small text in books.

An eye exam should be performed yearly on teenagers through the early twenties when development is complete, and school has ended.

After that point, eye exams will be needed regularly as an adult as well.

 

How to Schedule and Eye Exam for Children

Most children will have insurance coverage for a routine eye examination through their vision or medical insurance.

Once the insurance coverage is verified, call or go online to schedule an eye examination with an eye doctor who sees pediatric patients.

After the first visit, the doctor will schedule the needed follow up appointments.

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Our eye doctors at Nittany Eye Associates excel in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases. Call us at (814) 234-2015 or schedule an appointment online with one of our highly trained optometrists if you would like to learn more about when your child should get an eye exam.  Be sure to visit Nittany Eye Associates where we always put the care of you and your family first at our convenient locations in State College, Matilda, Spring Mills, Tyrone, and Lock Haven PA areas.

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