As back to school is on our minds – the question remains. When should we get our kids in for their first eye exam?

Research shows that 25% of children entering school have vision related issues. This statistic can be concerning, but keep in mind the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends three eye exams prior to entering school.

So when should a child get an eye exam?

Once vision has been established, if a child has normal vision and no correction is needed an exam every two years, unless other problems arise, is recommended. If a child does have vision issues, an annual exam is recommended.

The AOA suggests children receive eye exams as early as six months old. Although it may seem like six months is too early for an exam, it’s not. Typically, this test can be completed by your pediatrician. After this exam, it is recommended for children to receive an exam from an optometrist by age three and then again at age five or six – prior to starting school.

So what is the big deal?

Learning is crucial for kids, especially as they start school. If they are unable to see, learning can become frustrating for the child. Basic vision is necessary for a child to succeed in school. Additionally, it is important to call and find an optometrist who can examine small children. Many offices can give exams using images, special lighting, and other tools.

Children can suffer from an array of different vision issues. This includes near vision, distance, cross eyes, eye movement, focusing, peripheral vision, and hand eye coordination. It is important to have a vision professional check your child for all of these things prior to entering the school system.  

What can I expect for my child’s eye exam?

The best exams start with happy children. Try to ensure your exam is scheduled when your child is rested, not sick, and happy. The extent of the exam will depend on a child’s age. Some optometrists will want to dilate your child to ensure they are able to check the full range of vision. Younger children may only have a short exam to check their areas of vision and if they are able to focus. The optometrist will also want to know all about family history and any other eye examination and results.

If you have any questions about your kids and their back to school exam, contact us today!