Eighty percent of your child’s growth and development before 13 years is visual. Milestones like walking, reading, and identifying colors are dependent on vision. Therefore, you need to take your child to the first eye exam at six months old.
Your child’s eye exam will tell you about more than their eye health. Sometimes, a learning issue like ADHD or dyslexia can be a vision problem. Their eye exam will confirm it. While six months may seem young, it is the age at which they start interacting with their surrounding world. Your child’s first eye exam could make a difference in their health and development.
Here is what to expect during your child’s first eye exam, whatever their age:
The first eye exam should be when your child is six to twelve months. It will determine the presence of vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and amblyopia. If the doctor suspects the presence of any, they will refer you to a pediatric eye doctor. Early diagnosis of eye problems will help with effective treatment. Here are the steps your doctor will take.
The doctor will want to know if there is anything out of the ordinary about your child’s eyes. They will ask you about your family history. They will want to know if there is any record of eye problems and whether they start as early as childhood. If there is a history, they may refer you to a pediatric eye doctor to check their eye development.
Your child may be too young for a standard eye chart test. Thus, the doctor must check their eyes in other ways. Some doctors will use charts with pictures or toys. If the child is old enough to understand, they may ask them to focus on an object.
They will ask the child to follow it with both eyes and then one at a time. To check peripheral vision, the doctor may ask the child to focus on a toy, and then he will display light at the edge of their sight.
If the child is a baby, the doctor will dilate their pupils using eye drops. They will also use a retinoscope to test the baby’s eyes. Most babies have slight farsightedness at birth. It usually disappears at around three to five years. If there is any refractive error, the baby can wear special eyeglasses for small faces.
The doctor will also use an ophthalmoscope to shine a light inside the baby’s eyes. They use this to assess the overall eye health and detect any other health issues early. The doctor will check the baby’s pupils to see if they respond to light in the same way. They will also look at the eyeball, cornea, and iris.
The doctor will check your child’s eyelids and eye lining to ensure they are in peak condition. They will also check for excess discharge or tears that can be a sign of allergies or infection.
For more on what to expect at your child’s first eye exam, visit Ridgeview Eye Care at our office in Olathe or De Soto, Kansas. You can call (913) 270-8598 or (913) 270-6017 today to schedule an appointment.