So your baby has had their first exam between 6months and 12 months, what’s next???
After the initial examination the eye doctor will make their recommendation for follow-up. As long as no other recommendations are made, the next examination should take place between 2 and 3 years old. The child does not need to be able to make choices or know their letters. These examinations are critical to make sure that vision is developing normally and that the two eyes are equal. Children don’t know to say that something is blurry because likely they have seen the same way their entire life!
I once heard a very sad story of a child who went their first vision exam at age 7. At this exam the child was diagnosed with amblyopia (one eye was not receiving good, clear information due to a difference in prescription). The child asked the eye doctor “you know how everyone sees good out of this eye (points to right eye), and doesn’t see good out of this eye (points to left eye)… why is that?” This poor child had no idea that he should be able to see great out of BOTH eyes! Luckily, it is never too late to try to make a difference in a child’s vision.
At this eye exam the doctor will determine whether or not the child needs glasses. The doctor will also look at eye alignment and ability to move their eyes inward and outward. You should also expect to have the child’s eyes dilated in order to thoroughly examine eye health. The dilation is occasionally momentarily uncomfortable and will last a few hours, but the child should be able to go about their day afterward.
We all want what is best for our child. Don’t let an undiagnosed vision issue hold them back from succeeding in development and academically. Vision should be a building block for learning, and not inhibit the child. Vision screenings are helpful tool to catch problems that may have otherwise been overlooked, but a vision exam is important to be certain that the eyes and vision are developing normally.
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