Children and Eye Exams
Children are imaginative, innovative and adaptable. Consequently, it can be difficult to assess if they are having difficulty with their vision. I routinely hear from parents "but they find the smallest crumb on the floor and see the airplanes in the sky." There are few outward signs that children have poor vision, therefore routine vision screenings are recommended. The screenings are most commonly done by pediatricians, preschools and all schools upon entering Kindergarten.
As an infant, a baby should be seen if born prematurely, or if there is a family history of retinoblastoma (a childhood ocular tumor) or if the eyes are not tracking properly, or have a poor red reflex. Starting near one year of age, photoscreening, which estimates a child's refraction, can be done to better assess the child's vision. A toddler should be referred if failed a vision screening or if the eyes are not properly aligned or other concerns such as tearing, redness or eye pain.
Once the child has entered the preschool years, the vision can more accurately be assessed with pictures or letters at the pediatrician. Most children starting at 3 years old should be able to see the 20/50 line, and at 4 years should see 20/30. I do not expect perfect 20/20 vision until closer to 5 years old.
If parents or teachers have any concerns about the child's vision, reading or learning abilities, an appointment can be made for a full evaluation at our Woodbridge or Springfield office locations.
For more information, visit these sites by the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus:
Posted by Jennifer Dao, MD