If you are reading this, your eyes are hard at work. Eyes are a pretty major part of our day-to-day—we use them to see and understand the world around us, so it’s essential to keep our eyes in good working order.
Keeping in mind that children may not detect or communicate vision difficulties in the same way adults would, it’s important to bring kids in for regular eye exams beginning at the age of 6 months.
But what does a children’s eye exam look like? The process for children’s eye exams can vary depending on the child’s age, however, an eye doctor typically performs tests on each eye as well as a refraction assessment or visual acuity test to identify possible refractive errors and other concerns.
What Happens During a Child’s Eye Exam?
An eye exam can seem like a daunting thing, but it doesn’t have to be. During a child’s eye exam, optometrists will ask some questions about your child’s medical history. They may also ask about family medical history to determine whether there is a hereditary risk of eye conditions or diseases.
The eye doctor may perform vision tests to assess eye coordination and concentration, near or farsightedness, and whether a prescription is required. Depending on the child’s age and extent of communication, these tests may also be modified.
During the exam, the optometrist may discuss treatments like eyewear, contact lenses, and/or vision therapy, as well as dietary and exercise regimens to support your child’s eye health and development.
If you have questions about how to safeguard your child’s vision when it comes to routine activities like sports, UV exposure, or screen time, you can also ask these during your child’s exam.
How Long Does an Eye Exam Take?
The timing of a child’s eye exam can vary depending on the child and their overall health and history, but an eye exam typically lasts 20 to 60 minutes. This timing includes discussing your family history as well as any treatment plans necessary.
The following things may influence the length of your child’s eye exam:
- Any new or recurring eye damage or injury
- Pre-existing eye diseases or an increased risk of developing an eye disease
- Whether it’s a dilated eye exam
- If it’s your child’s first visit
How to Prepare for a Child’s Eye Exam
To prepare yourself and your child for their eye exam, make sure you bring a list of any medications your child is taking as well as any current glasses or prescriptions they need.
One way to get your child ready for their eye exam is to reassure them it will be a fun activity! Optometrists are experienced in working with children and aim to make the process comfortable and easy for them.
Helping Your Child with Vision Development
Playing with your child and encouraging them to play with other children can help their visual development. Simple memory games, reading and allowing them to visually follow along, and activities that use hand-eye coordination are some ways you can help your child in their visual development.
Play can help kids grow and develop in healthy ways beyond just their vision. Other reasons to incorporate play into your daily routine include:
- Helping kids build strength
- Helping kids develop problem-solving skills
- Helping relieves stress & promotes resilience
- Encouraging exploration & creativity
Taking care of your child’s vision is just one more way you can care for their health and help set them up for success.
Schedule Your Child’s Eye Exam
Eyes play an important role in all our lives, especially in a child’s life. To achieve sharp, clear vision and healthy eyes for you and your child, maintaining a regular eye examination schedule is essential. Schedule an appointment at Eye Wellness for a routine eye exam, or get your glasses and contact lens prescription updated.