When Should I Take My Child To The Eye Doctor?

eye doctor examining child

While there’s no doubt that there are plenty of parents who make a conscious effort into taking their children to see their pediatrician at least once a year for their check-up, rarely do they take their kids to specialists. If it’s not recommended or even suggested by you child’s primary health professional, then many parents assume that all is fine. But that’s not always the case.

Many experts agree that moms and dads should think about taking their kids to see at least one specialist: an eye doctor. Making sure that your child is regularly getting their vision checked is essential, especially when it comes to spotting issues early for proper treatment. Parents shouldn’t wait too long before making that first appointment. According to the American Optometric Association, infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age.

For school-aged children, the American Optometric Association recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or according to their eye doctor's recommendations. School screenings are not adequate and often miss vision issues.

Some health experts even believe that about 5 percent to 10 percent of preschool children and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems that are more often than not undetected. It’s important that parents make sure their children see an eye specialist before their first year of preschool. Identifying child's vision problem is crucial because, if left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss.

Scheduling an eye exam is important because children need basic visual skills in order to efficiently and comfortably learn at school. During an eye exam, a doctor will look out for several different factors and assess a child’s near vision, distance vision, eye teaming (binocularity) skills, eye movement skills and focusing skills. In addition, they will also look for peripheral awareness and eye and hand coordination.

Seeing an eye doctor doesn’t necessarily mean that your child needs eye glasses. Instead, it helps in preventing a problem before it even begins. Your child's eyes are something you don't want to lose sight of.

READ NEXT: When Should A Child See A Dentist For The First Time?

Mom Shares Hack To Ensure Child Is Prepared For When Their First Period Hits

More in Parenting