Child’s First Eye Exam

By Staff April 3, 2017

By:  Philip Griffith, O.D.

Many parents wonder when is the right time for their child to have their first eye exam. Having a comprehensive eye exam, and more than what is typically provided at the pediatrician, is extremely important for children, even in the absence of symptoms or complaints. Some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss if a child’s vision problem is left untreated. Early detection is crucial. Often times, your pediatrician will be the first medical professional to exam your child’s eyes. Be sure to let your eye doctor know if your child has failed a vision screening.

The American Optometric Association recommends infants to have their first complete exam between 6 months to one year of age, and children to have another exam at age 3 and again at about 5 or 6 (just before first grade). Many parents often worry that if their child doesn’t know their letters, or may be too shy to answer, that they are too young for an eye exam. Not to worry! Your doctor can use several techniques including using pictures or shapes to assess a child’s visual acuity.  Some tests can even be performed which do not require responses from the child. The specific elements of the exam will depend on each child’s age and maturity, but generally exams will include complete evaluation of the eye health and

  • Near vision
  • Distance vision
  • Eye teaming (binocularity) skills
  • Eye movement skills
  • Focusing skills
  • Peripheral awareness
  • Eye/hand coordination

Some common symptoms of possible vision problems in children include:

  • frequent eye rubbing
  • excessive blinking
  • headaches
  • squinting
  • one eye turning in or out
  • and of course complaining of not being able to see things clearly

Having a proper eye exam at an early age is important to insuring your child has the skills and abilities needed to succeed. To schedule an eye exam with one of our doctors, contact Bowden Eye & Associates at (904) 296-0098 or today. Dr. Philip Griffith is located in our Tinseltown Office at 8833 Perimeter Park Blvd., Suite 403 and also has Saturday appointments available.