Eye exams for children are crucial to ensure their eyes have developed appropriately. During your child's eye exam, not only will vision be assessed but Dr. Cates will also evaluate visual skills that are critical for learning. The following with be evaluated during the eye exam:
- Acuity - Distance Vision: visual acuity (sharpness, clearness) at 20 foot distance.
- Acuity - Near Vision: visual acuity for short distance (specifically, reading distance).
- Focusing Skills: the ability of the eyes to maintain clear vision at varying distances.
- Eye Tracking and Fixation Skills: the ability of the eyes to look at and accurately follow an object; this includes the ability to move the eyes across a sheet of paper while reading.
- Stereopsis: binocular (two-eyed) depth perception.
- Convergence and Eye Teaming Skills: the ability of the eyes to aim, move and work as a coordinated team.
- Color Vision: the ability to differentiate colors.
What is the Difference Between an Eye Exam and a Vision Screening?
Vision screenings performed at school or the pediatrician's office provide a measure of visual acuity, or how well your child can see. These are beneficial and help detect many children who may need glasses. However, vision screenings do not tell the whole story and should not replace a complete eye exam. A comprehensive eye exam allows us to perform a functional visual assessment to determine how your child uses their eyes to gather visual information, which is a crucial skill for learning.
Remember, an eye exam that tests distance vision only is not an adequate evaluation of a child's visual development. The visual skills listed above affect a child's success in reading (comprehension and reading rate), overall academic achievement, and sports performance.
When Does My Child Need An Eye Exam?
The American Optometric Association recommends a child's first eye exam be between the ages of 6-12 months old. If no problems or concerns are detected, the next eye exam should be at age 3 and then again before starting Kindergarten. After that, kids should have eye exams every 1-2 years.
Warning Signs, Symptoms & Risk Factors for Eye Problems:
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Closes or covers one eye
- Tilts or turns head to read/see something
- Excessive blinking
- Headaches after reading or other near work
- Inability to make eye contact
- Failed vision screening at school
- A history of prematurity or low birth weight
- Delayed motor development
- Family history of amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (eye turn)
Dr. Cates is proud to be an InfantSee provider. The InfantSee program provides FREE eye exams for infants between 6-12 months old. At this exam, At this eye exam, we are able to evaluate how your child's eyes are developing and can even detect any risk factors that may be present for developing amblyopia (lazy eye) later in life. We will also evaluate the health of your child's eyes at this exam.
Call us today at 972-250-2020 to schedule an eye exam for your child!