When should a child have their first vision exam?
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children have their first vision exam before the age of 1. This is so important that there has even been a program funded by the AOA, called Infantsee, to provide vision examinations to infants 6months-1year old free of charge! Most parents are very surprised to hear that their baby should have an eye exam… don’t they have to be able to answer which is better “1 or 2”? This is not the case. There are a variety of ways to determine if someone needs glasses without having them say a word! Of course, when the patient can make choices, having their input is very helpful. At this exam we also will look closely at the infants eye health to make sure that they can have normal visual development. Find a provider near you at http://www.infantsee.org/
What should one expect at their infants first eye exam?
- The doctor will assess the baby’s vision– can they accurately see or follow a target? Do their eyes react to light?
- The doctor will assess if the baby’s eyes are crossing in or turning outward
- The doctor will temporarily dilate the baby’s pupils using specific drops– this is very important to examine the health of the retina (the part of the eye that gathers all the information we see)
How did these parents know their child needed glasses?
Many times they do NOT know, since the child is unable to tell them that they do not see things clearly. Sometimes it is just caught because a parent scheduled their child for an Infantsee examination. Other times they notice that the child does not attend to things such as toys or faces. In other instances a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, wears glasses. Whatever the reason, an eye exam should be on every babies doctor schedule.