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How often should children have their eyes examined?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. After that, kids should have routine eye exams at age 3 and again at age 5 or 6 (just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade).
For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is needed. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually.
My 6-year-old daughter just had a vision screening at school and she passed. Does she still need an eye exam?
Yes. School vision screenings are designed to detect gross vision problems. But kids can pass a screening at school and still have vision problems that can affect their learning and school performance. In fact, studies have found that up to 11 percent of children who pass a vision screening actually have a vision problem that needs treatment. A comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist can detect vision problems that a school screening may miss. Also, a comprehensive eye exam includes an evaluation of your child’s eye health, which is not part of a school vision screening.
How do we get him to wear his glasses?
In most cases, it just takes awhile for children to get used to the sensation of wearing glasses. So persistence is the key. Also, you may want to put his glasses on as soon as he wakes up – this will usually help him adapt to the glasses easier.
My kid is farsighted and has been wearing glasses for a few years. We think she may have problems with depth perception. How can she be tested for this, and if there is a problem, can it be treated?
Absolutely. We can perform a very simple exam to determine if your child has normal depth perception. If she has reduced stereopsis, a program of vision therapy may help improve her depth perception.
If a child has 20/40 vision in both eyes. Should I be concerned, or could this improve with time?
Visual acuity testing is subjective – during an eye exam, your child is being asked to read smaller and smaller letters on a wall chart. Sometimes, kids give up at a certain line on the chart when they can actually read smaller letters. Other times, they may say they can’t read smaller letters because they want glasses. (Yes, this is a possibility!) If your child has vision tested at a school screening (where there can be plenty of distractions), it’s a good idea to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to rule out nearsightedness, astigmatism or an eye health problem that may be keeping him from having better visual acuity.