Seeing the Future Clearly: Everything You Need to Know About Pediatric Eye Exams

From packing healthy lunches to enforcing bedtimes to helping out with remote learning, there’s nothing you won’t do to make sure your child has everything they need to succeed. But there’s one more item that deserves a spot on that list if it’s not there already: scheduling a pediatric eye exam with an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

At our locations in Jackson Heights, Queens, and the surrounding areas, our experienced doctors screen children of all ages to make sure their eyes are healthy and happy year-round. Read on to learn why pediatric eye exams are essential to your child’s well-being and what you can do to get started.

Why are pediatric eye exams so important?

Frustration, fatigue, headaches—these are all issues your child may experience because of undetected vision problems. Children with undiagnosed vision issues struggle academically, socially, and athletically. Your child may face difficulties with:

  • Reading the board in school
  • Spotting the ball during games
  • Communicating with peers
  • Engaging in close-up activities

These all become all challenging without clear vision. Unfortunately, children often find it hard to communicate why they’re struggling in these areas, often because they aren’t aware vision problems are the cause. Instead, these issues show up as small signs, such as squinting, holding books close to the face, or frequent eye rubbing.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), 25% of school-age children are diagnosed with vision problems upon their first eye exam.

While annual school vision screenings help detect some basic issues, they may overlook eye coordination problems and other less common conditions. Bringing your child in for a visit with an eye doctor gives you a bigger-picture understanding of their total eye health.

What do pediatric eye exams screen for?

Routine exams check for many different things, including:

  • Squinting
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Redness or swelling
  • Eye alignment
  • Color vision
  • Peripheral vision
  • Near convergence
  • Near point of accommodation
  • Amblyopia (“lazy eye”)

Your eye doctor may seek to diagnose specific concerns, such as eyes turning in or out, chronic redness or tearing, or uneven pupil size.

This exam also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have and build a relationship with your child’s ophthalmologist or optometrist. If your child doesn’t have an eye doctor yet, learn what to look for in a qualified doctor in our previous blog post.

When and how often should I schedule pediatric eye exams?

The AOA recommends the first visit at 6 months, another at age 3, and another whenever your child starts school. After these initial exams, children without vision issues should come back for a visit every 2 years to check for any changes. Those with concerns should follow their eye doctor’s recommendation.

You can also make an appointment at any time if you notice your child sitting too close to the TV, avoiding reading, complaining of headaches, or having difficulty with hand-eye coordination in sports.

You want your child to have a bright, clear future, and so do the doctors at New York Ophthalmology. To learn more about scheduling a pediatric eye exam with an ophthalmologist or optometrist, please contact us online or call 1-888-212-EYES.

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