Comprehensive eye exams for kids are critical as they enable early detection and treatment of vision problems. Kids with unresolved eye conditions face many challenges in life including social and academic problems. When vision problems are detected early, children are more responsive to treatment unlike when they have grown up.

During the first 6 months, your child’s eyes may seem slightly out of alignment or crossed, however if their eyes appear significantly misaligned, you should contact a physician or optometrist right away as this could be a sign of eye problems such as strabismus.

At birth, a baby can see blurred patterns of light and dark. Within 4 months, their vision extends from an arm’s length to across the room. By 6 months, your baby will have acquired control of their eye movements and developed hand-eye coordination.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), children should undergo their first eye exam when they are six months old. Additional eye exams for kids should be conducted at the age of 3 and before they enter the first grade which should about ages 5 or 6.Doctors of optometry can conduct comprehensive eye exams even if your child has not yet mastered their ABCs. The physician uses various techniques including pictures, shapes and many other child-friendly methods to evaluate vision and eye health.

According to AOA, school-going kids should have eye examinations annually unless they have eye conditions that need to be corrected sooner. Children who need eye aids should be examined every year or as recommended by their ophthalmologist or optometrist.

During eye exams for children, physicians evaluate the following:

Eye movement skills

Distance vision

Focusing skills

Hand-eye coordination

Binocular coordination

Near vision

Peripheral awareness

Specifics about how eye examinations are conducted usually depend on the age of the child. Normally, eye exams include case history, during this session, you will be asked about your child’s birth history including birth weight, complications during pregnancy or delivery and whether the child was full-term or not. The doctor will also seek to understand the child’s medical history, present or present allergies and current medications.

To assess whether your kid’s eyes are developing normally, the physician will conduct the following exams:

Pupil responses

Fixate and follow

Preferential looking

Studies show that about 5-10 percent of all pre-school age children have vision problems. Many serious eye conditions do not have clear symptoms and only develop specific symptoms when the condition is too advanced and hard to treat. Most of these problems can be resolved if they are caught early enough when the child’s vision system is still developing. Here, regular eye exams for kids are the best approach to guard against future vision problems.