Going to the eye doctor can be quite common for adults, but we might not often think very young children need to go unless there’s an obvious problem. However, taking your child to a pediatric eye doctor for a checkup can help your child have healthy vision for life, especially with reasonable financing options available to you.
It’s always in your child’s best interest to visit the doctor as often as recommended to ensure they are receiving the care they need.
If you’re taking your little one to the pediatric eye doctor for the first time, here’s what you should know about your child’s first eye exam.
When Should Your Child Visit a Pediatric Eye Doctor for the First Time?
The American Optometric Association suggests that infants get their first full eye exam from an optometrist at six months old.
If there are any concerns or a history of eye problems in the family, it’s best to get a pediatric ophthalmology appointment for children between the ages of birth to two years old. Your insurance is more likely to cover these exams when eye issues are shown to be hereditary.
Additionally, it’s recommended that children get their eyes rechecked at three years old and just before starting kindergarten or first grade, at around five or six years old. This makes sure vision problems won’t hold them back in their classes.
Signs Your Child Needs To See a Pediatric Eye Doctor
There are a few easy ways to tell if you should get a pediatric ophthalmology appointment for your child. Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it’s better to be safe than sorry with something as sensitive as your child’s vision.
Watch for these signs and get an appointment with a pediatric eye doctor like Gelman Vision:
- You have a family history of poor vision or eye disease
- Your child complains about their vision
- There’s an existing medical condition like prematurity or Down syndrome
- Your child fails a vision screening or it can’t be completed
Tips To Make the First Pediatric Ophthalmology Exam Go Smoothly
If you can make visits to the pediatric eye doctor go smoothly, your child will likely put up less of a fuss during future visits. Here are some ideas to try for this first meeting:
- Set the appointment for when your child is normally awake, fed, and not fussy
- Give an age-appropriate explanation of what will be happening
- Sit your little one in your lap if they’re nervous
- You can also sit next to an older child to offer them some reassurance
- Bring some toys or books to help make any waiting tolerable
What To Expect From Your Child’s First Visit to the Pediatric Eye Doctor
Knowing what to expect can ease worries for both you and your child. Here’s what to expect at an eye exam at different ages.
At six months old:
The pediatric eye doctor will mostly be using lights and toys to keep your baby engaged and see how their vision is developing. They’ll check the structure of the eye and see how well your baby can focus their vision while making sure your child has normal eye movement.
At three to five years old:
At this stage, children can normally participate in an eye exam. Since most children can’t read at this age, symbols or a chart with the letter E facing different directions will replace the classic eye test.
Other issues doctors will test for include:
- Eye abnormalities including crossed or lazy eyes
- Visual perception like nearsightedness or depth perception
- Color blindness
Let Gelman Vision Give Your Child Their First Eye Exam
If it’s time to get your baby’s first eye exam, trust Dr. Gelman at Gelman Vision to be your pediatric eye doctor. We are here to make sure your child has the best start in life. Many eye problems can be corrected when treated early.