Kids Eye Test: Types, Importance & Tips to Consider

Eye Exam for Children – Why Is it Important?

As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child’s vision is normal because any problem in his eyes may affect your child’s life in more than one ways. Therefore, it is important that you take your kid for a regular eye examination.

What is the Importance of Eye Examination for Kids

An eye examination or eye test is extremely important as it helps in establishing your kid’s eye health and it also aids in ascertaining eye problems, if any. Here are some reasons why you should consider paediatric eye examination for your kid:

  • To see if your kid has proper focus and concentration.
  • To check if your kid has good vision.
  • To know if your child has comfortable and proper eye-teaming skills.
  • To establish if your kid has proper eye movement skills.

When Should Children Get Their Eyes Checked

Your child’s doctor may perform a general eye examination soon after your baby is born. However, the first comprehensive eye test or your child’s first eye exam may be conducted as soon as your baby reaches six months of age. After this, it is recommended that the eye test may be performed when your child turns three-year-old and subsequently it should be done before your kid begins his formal education, which is around five or six years of age. If your child does not need any vision correction, then an eye examination may be scheduled once in every two years. However, if your kid wears glasses, then an examination may be required on a yearly basis or as suggested by the eye specialist.

A small child getting his eyes checked

What are the Signs of Vision Problem in Children

Sometimes a child may have a vision problem and thus you may be required to take your kid for an eye examination. Here are symptoms that may indicate that your child has vision problems:

  • If your kid is squinting, rubbing, or tilting his head while focusing at objects or experiencing difficulty when looking towards the light.
  • If your child insists on sitting on the front bench in the class because he may see not clear from the back seat.
  • If your child shows less or no interest in activities such as reading, writing, colouring etc.
  • If your child is experiencing trouble in coordinating hand-eye or body-eye movements.

These symptoms could indicate that your child may be suffering from a vision problem, it is suggested that you schedule your child’s eye examination at the earliest.

Tips for Scheduling an Eye Examination for Your Child

If you are planning to schedule an eye examination for your child, here are some things that you need to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that your kid is in a happy mood and alert. The eye examination may involve assessing your kid’s medical history and various eye testing procedures. All these processes may be time-consuming, and thus it is important that your child stays in good mood. If he is cranky, he may refuse to go through these procedures.
  • If your child was born prematurely or has experienced any developmental delays or any eye-related problems (rubbing, excessive blinking, inability to make eye contact etc.), you should discuss it with your eye doctor.
  • Make sure you tell your doctor, in case there has been any family history of eye problems, or in case your child has had any ocular diagnoses or treatments.

How to Prepare Your Child for an Eye Exam

Whenever you plan to visit an eye doctor for your child’s eye examination, it is imperative that you speak to your child about it beforehand. Explain to your child in regards to what he will be required to do there. Tell your kid that he may have to identify various objects, pictures, letters, or the shape of the light on the wall. The doctor may put some eye drops in his eyes, which may create a tingling sensation, so prepare your child for the same in advance. It is very important that you tell your child about the procedures frankly, that your kid may have to undergo so that your kid is better prepared and also knows what to expect at a child eye exam.

Infant Eye Examination

By the time a baby turns 6 months, he has a better colour vision, focusing ability, and depth perception. In order to ascertain if your baby’s eyes are developing in a normal and proper way, your doctor may conduct the following eye exams.

1. Pupil Response

In order to check your baby’s pupil response, your doctor will make use of light to see how your baby’s pupils expand and recede.

2. Preferential Looking

In order to assess your baby’s vision capabilities, your doctor may make use of two cards, one blank and one striped. Your doctor will place the card in front of your baby’s eyes to grab his attention on the striped card.

3. Fixate and Follow

This test is done to see whether your baby’s eyes are able to fix and follow his gaze. It is seen that soon after birth a baby may be able to fix his gaze and by the time he turns three, he may follow an object.

Eye Examination for Preschoolers

Your child may be advised following eyesight tests for kids by the time he is three years old or is a preschooler:

1. LEA Symbols

In order to establish the clarity and range of vision of your child, your doctor may perform this test. This test involves showing some random but easily identifiable images to your kid such as an apple, grapes or banana. The pictures are placed at a desired distant by the doctor.

2. Random Dot Stereopsis

This test involves various kinds of dotted patterns that your child may have to see through a 3D glass, to check his vision and to establish how well your child’s eyes are coordinated.

3. Retinoscopy

This test helps your doctor establish whether or not your child requires glasses. The test involves shining a light into your kid’s eyes to check for the reflection from the back of the eye.

Eye Examination for School-aged Children

Apart from the above-mentioned eye tests, your doctor may recommend the following eye tests for school-aged children:

1.  Binocular Vision

The test is conducted to establish how coordinated your child’s eyes are or how well your child’s eyes work together.

2. Focusing

Young children and teenagers may face problems in focusing on objects, and thus the doctor may conduct tests to establish how well your kid’s eyes are able to focus.

3. Hand-Eye Coordination

Children who have a problem in coordinating their hands and eyes movements may feel extremely frustrated, and this may adversely affect their academic performance too. Your doctor may test your child’s eyes to establish this problem.

Apart from the above-mentioned tests, your doctor may conduct peripheral vision, colour vision or even tracking test for school-aged children to establish various eye problems.

A girl's eye being checked

Common Vision Problems in Kids

Here are some of the vision problems that your eye specialist may notice while performing various eye examinations.

  • Your child may have amblyopic (lazy eyes).
  • Your kid may be suffering from near-sightedness.
  • Your child may be suffering from far-sightedness.
  • You kid may have convergence insufficiency.
  • Your child may be suffering from misalignment or strabismus eyes.
  • Your kid may improper anterior eye.
  • Your kid may experience problems in focusing, colour vision, or in depth perception.
  • Your child may be suffering from astigmatism.

How Vision Problem Affects a Child’s Learning Skills

A child’s learning skills and vision are interlinked. It is observed that about 80 percent of the information that a child grasps and perceives in school is through visual senses only. This means that in order to aid a child’s learning his vision has to be good too. Thus, any kind of vision-related problem may adversely impact a child’s learning skills.

Your child’s eye health and vision is a very important aspect of his optimum growth and development. In case, you notice any signs of eye problem in your kid, take him to an eye doctor.

Also Read: Eye Care Tips for Kids

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