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How Often Should a Child Get an Eye Exam?

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Vision care habits are built up from a young age. Healthy eyes lead to optimal vision—the first step is scheduling consistent eye exams with your optometrist. Early eye exams can help your optometrist stay up-to-date on your children’s visual development.

But how often should your children get an eye exam? Let’s look at when you should bring your children in for an eye exam and what to expect. 

Your Children’s Eye Exam Schedule

Many parents are concerned about nailing down a consistent eye exam schedule for their children that best serves their visual needs. 

Your children’s vision is ever-changing, so consistently monitoring visual development and changes in their vision is essential. The following eye exam frequency is recommended for children: 

  • First exam at 6–12 months of age
  • At least 1 exam between 3–5 years of age
  • 1 exam before first grade and annually from ages 6–17

Maintaining a consistent eye exam schedule is vital, and your optometrist will recommend additional exams based on your child’s unique visual needs.

Visual problems can often appear in the classroom, and it can be challenging for your children to explain what’s wrong. Around 80 percent of what your children learn in the classroom is visual so getting your children to the optometrist for annual examinations is crucial.

Your children may not always notice something wrong with their vision, and that’s where your optometrist can help get to the bottom of their vision issues.

What to Expect During an Eye Exam

An eye exam is a powerful tool that’s used for more than just updating your child’s glasses prescription. 

Consistent eye exams can assist your optometrist in detecting and treating vision issues such as strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye). Eye exams also present an opportunity to check for refractive errors like:

During your child’s eye exam, your optometrist will be able to get the necessary information that can help preserve your child’s long-term vision. 

Your child’s comprehensive eye examination will include: 

  • Gaining a deeper understanding of your child’s medical history
  • Performing tests for visual acuity, refraction, binocular vision, and overall eye health
  • Answering any questions or concerns, you may have about your child’s vision
  • Educating your children on their eye health and how to preserve it

Another crucial aspect of children’s vision care is monitoring the development of myopia and managing it early. 

Myopia Management

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common vision condition that typically develops at a young age, making distant objects appear blurry. Myopia occurs when the eye becomes too elongated, or the cornea has too much curvature, resulting in light entering the eye to focus improperly in front of the retina.

Common signs and symptoms of myopia may include: 

  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • Headaches caused by eyestrain
  • Persistent squinting
  • Blinking excessively

The first step to managing the progression of myopia is regular eye exams, but your optometrist can offer myopia control methods like: 

These personalized myopia control solutions can help your children overcome the effects of myopia and get back to their favorite books and get out with their friends!

Building Good Eye Care Habits Early

Children’s eye exams are all about building good eye care habits early. Annual eye exams can allow your optometrist to instill good vision care habits in your children that they can carry with them for a lifetime. Book an appointment with your optometrist at Park Slope Eye to schedule an eye exam for your child and begin their vision care journey.


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  • Written by Justin Bazan

    Dr. Justin Bazan is a 2004 SUNY College of Optometry graduate. He established Park Slope Eye in 2008 with the goal of providing high quality eyecare and incredible eyewear for the neighborhood. He has a true passion for optometry and stay up to date with the current research and trends. He is active in the profession and holds several leadership positions on the local, state and national levels. Dr. Bazan is a Park Slope local and can often be seen out in the neighborhood so be sure to say Hi next time you see him!

    More Articles by Justin Bazan

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