Regularly scheduled eye exams are the best way to detect vision problems early, but what age should children first begin seeing an eye doctor?
The answer, according to Dr. Elizabeth Congdon, optometrist with BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists in Green Bay, might surprise you.
“Believe it or not, The American Optometric Association says six months,” says Congdon. “I personally think three or four years old- before your child starts a 3K or 4K program they should have their eyes evaluated.”
Congdon recently participated in a Facebook LIVE discussion on children’s eye health, where she answered some common questions related to pediatric eye exams.
Vision problems can affect a child’s development as well as their school readiness, Congdon adds, and children often won’t express an issue with their vision.
“Eye conditions affect more than 20 percent of children,” she says. Yet, “most children do not complain of symptoms, and they rarely show obvious signs of a vision problem.”
This is where parents need to rely on both pediatricians and optometrists, she says.
According to Congdon, there are four main things she’s looking at during a pediatric eye exam.
Four things a doctor tests or looks for during a pediatric eye exam
- Vision- can they see the eye chart?
- Eye alignment
- Vision prescription
- Health of the back of the eye
In the video, Dr. Congdon goes into depth about what parents can expect from their child’s first pediatric eye exam, as well as why scheduling eye exams regularly may be crucial for a child’s health and development.