A children's eye exam is an expert assessment of your child's eye health and vision performed by an optometrist (OD).
A brief examination of your child’s eyes by a pediatrician or family practice doctor is not a substitute for an eye exam performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Only ODs and eye MDs have the advanced training and clinical tools to perform a thorough evaluation of your child's eyes and vision.
According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, approximately 35 percent of American preschoolers have nearsightedness(myopia), farsightedness or astigmatism. Also, the risk of myopia and progression of myopia continues through the school years.
Early eye exams also are important because children need the following visual skills that are essential for optimal learning:
Excellent visual acuity at all distances
Accurate and comfortable eye teaming skills
Accurate eye movement skills
Accurate and comfortable focusing skills
When To Have Your Child's Eyes Examined
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade — at about age 5 or 6.
For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or as recommended by their optometrist or ophthalmologist.
What if My Child Plays Sports?
THE EYE DOCTOR has teamed up with Dr. Anne Reuter of Gold Coast Vision Performance to provide vision training for young athletes, adult athletes, or anyone who wants enhanced visual performance. More information about Dr. Reuter’s services can be found here. Although based out of of New York City, Dr. Reuter also provides her services at THE EYE DOCTOR’s East Greenwich, RI office.