What to Expect at Your Child’s First Eye Exam

A baby’s vision changes rapidly in the first few months. At six months, sight is usually the strongest of the five senses. It enables children to develop vital social and cognitive skills. Pediatricians generally check children’s eyes regularly. 

However, your child needs to visit an eye specialist for a comprehensive eye exam. The exam will help check for eye health and vision issues. You can learn what to expect at your child’s first eye exam. 

When to Get the First Eye Exam

Eye specialists recommend that babies get their first eye exam at six months. A comprehensive eye exam helps test for eye movement, alignment, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. 

Premature babies have a high risk of developing retinopathy of prematurity. It is a condition that affects the retina, and it can lead to blindness. Premature babies go through screening for the condition soon after birth. 

Signs of Vision Issues

Some signs can indicate that your child has vision problems. They include strabismus or crossed eyes, jerking eye movements (nystagmus), amblyopia, eye or eyelid injuries, and excessive tearing. Look for signs of infection like swelling, redness, and encrusted eyelids. 

Unusual light sensitivity can be a sign of a vision problem. Inspecting your baby’s eyes regularly will help you notice changes that may indicate a vision or eye health issue. It may not be possible to determine the child’s visual acuity until they are older. 

What to Expect at the First Eye Exam

The first eye exam evaluates kids who cannot communicate or remain attentive for long. Your pediatric eye doctor may recommend scheduling the exam early. Babies are more alert in the morning, which can help ensure that the testing goes smoothly. 

Ensure that your child is not hungry or tired during the appointment. The doctor will begin by evaluating the child’s medical history. The tests help determine visual acuity, ocular motility and binocular vision, refraction, and overall eye health.

During Eye Testing

A baby may not be able to read a chart, but some tests can help check vision. The eye exam does not require a child’s verbal input. The specialist will check if a flashing light causes the baby to blink or if a light causes the pupils to change. 

The doctor will check if the child’s eyes follow a moving toy or object and if they line up properly. How well the baby can focus on a close or far toy can indicate eyesight strength. 

Benefits of Early Eye Exams

Early eye exams can help ward off severe eyesight and eye health problems. Undiagnosed abnormalities or conditions can result in vision loss. Some conditions can be reversed if detected early. Lazy eye and crossed eyes are common problems in babies, but they respond well to treatment.

Vision problems are rare in young babies unless there is a genetic condition or family history of eye disease. The eye doctor will check for signs that can indicate your child has weak eye muscles or other vision issues. If detected early, the doctor can address vision problems and correct them. Early diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. 

For more on what to expect at your child’s first eye exam, visit Ridgeview Eye Care at our Olathe or De Soto, Kansas office. Call (913) 270-8598 or (913) 270-6017 today to schedule an appointment. For after-hours eye emergencies, call (913) 261-8327. 

We are thrilled that Dr. Carrie Hartigan is joining our team this summer. She comes in as a pediatric optometrist and will be available in our Olathe and De Soto offices.

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