You should be aware that eye exams for children are extremely important, because 5 percent to 10 percent of pre-schoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child's vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when they are diagnosed early.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at six months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at three years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age five or six. For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or according to eye doctor recommendations.

Early eye exams also are important because children need the following basic skills related to good eyesight for learning:

  • Near vision
  • Distance vision
  • Binocular (two eyes) coordination
  • Eye movement skills
  • Focusing skills
  • Peripheral awareness
  • Eye/hand coordination

When scheduling an eye exam for your child, make sure to choose a time when he or she is usually alert and happy.

Pediatric Eye examinations may include:
(varies depending on the age of your child)
 
  • visual acuity or refraction test to determine the degree to which you may be nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism. For kids, a longer acting dilation drop will be used to objectively determine your childs refractive error. This longer acting drop (cycloplegia) is crucial to the exam, and takes 30-40 minutes to take effect before the doctor may examine your child. Please schedule your child’s eye examination with this in mind.

  • eye muscle function test to check the movement of your eyes in each direction and at specified angles. This test will identify any muscle weakness or involuntary eye movement.

  • binocular vision skills assessment to ensure that your eyes work together properly as a team. This is important for proper depth perception, eye muscle coordination and the ability to change focus from near to far objects.

  • visual field test to measure your peripheral vision, the width of the area you can see when you’re looking straight ahead. This test may also detect diseases of the eyes or neurological disorders.

  • eye pressure test. Your doctor may administer one or more tests to evaluate your intra-ocular pressure. High intra-ocular pressure may be a sign of glaucoma.

  • Color vision screening to see if you percieve colors properly.

  • Neurological testing.

  • Eye health assessment using a slit lamp microscope. This tool allows the doctor to evaluate your optic nerve, retina, cornea and lens.
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2222 James Street; Suite A
Bellingham, Washington 98225
Optometric Phys. NW Whatcom Optical
(360) 676-4030 (360) 733-2332
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