When you become a parent, you become responsible for all aspects of your child’s health and wellbeing. This includes their eye health and vision. One of the best ways to protect this and ensure that your little one can see clearly for as long as possible is to take them for regular pediatric eye exams. These appointments are not dissimilar to the comprehensive eye exam that you are probably familiar with. In addition to checking how clearly your child can see at different distances, they will also examine their eyes for any sign of disease or other problems that could be developing.
Unfortunately, many parents overlook pediatric eye exams for the single reason that it doesn’t occur to them that their child might not be able to see clearly or have an issue with their eyes. Children are extremely adaptable to their circumstances, so they may not always show signs or symptoms that they are experiencing issues with their vision. Or in many cases, their vision might only be slightly impaired – not enough to make it obvious to them that it could be better. Very young children may not have the communication skills to be able to convey their concerns.
Nevertheless, our children rely on their vision just as much as we do. They need to be able to see clearly to learn about the world around them, to grow and develop into capable and independent teenagers and adults. Accurate vision is necessary for their safety – to help them choose when to cross the road, negotiate steps, and read labels and instructions. It is also essential for them to access their education, where as much as 90% of the work they will cover is presented visually. Many children are actually misdiagnosed with learning or behavior difficulties, when in fact it is their vision that is preventing them from achieving their full potential at school.
Pediatric eye exams mean that you don’t necessarily need to worry about not picking up on symptoms. Your eye doctor will be monitoring your child’s eyes close enough to detect any issues and get them treated early before they can have a serious effect on their vision, health or quality of life.
Exactly how often to schedule pediatric eye exams will depend on your child’s age. All children have their eyes assessed at birth for any obvious normalities. However, after this, you will be expected to assume responsibility to getting their eyes checked properly in accordance with the recommended guidelines given to you by your eye doctor. Most recommend that children have their very first comprehensive eye exam at around 6 months of age, and then again at the age of 3 and shortly before they begin school, at around 5/6 years old. These appointments will help to ensure that your child has a clear vision and healthy eyes that they need to support them through the period of rapid growth and development that they experience in the first 5 years of their life.
Once your child reaches school age, your eye doctor will likely recommend that you bring them in for a comprehensive eye exam every year, regardless of whether or not they are found to need vision correction. If your eye doctor discovers that your child does need to wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, the frequency of appointments may be adjusted depending on their individual needs.
For more information about pediatric eye exams, please speak to our experienced eye care team in Chicago, IL or Orland Park, IL today.