At New York Ophthalmology, our team appreciates that parents trust us with their children’s vision care, whether it’s a first comprehensive eye exam or treatments for specific eye conditions. Our pediatric eye care is provided by some of the leading optometrists and ophthalmologists in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens (Jackson Heights and Jamaica) at our New York City and Long Island office locations.
First Eye Exams
We recommend a comprehensive eye exam at 6 years old when our eye doctors can use eye charts that include pictures, numbers, or letters. At this stage, we can check depth perception and color vision, determine eye health, and look for any signs of cross-eye or other congenital disorders. We can also detect amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” a condition in which sight does not develop normally in one eye. If left untreated during early childhood, amblyopia may not be treatable in later years.
Beyond Vision Screenings
School-aged children typically get vision screenings throughout their pre-school and elementary school years. Even though screenings can be a valuable resource for detecting a child’s basic vision, parents shouldn’t rely on these tests to diagnose all potential vision problems. These screenings may overlook students with “lazy eye” or those with eyes that aren’t coordinated. We recommend children get annual eye exams with a qualified eye doctor to ensure that vision conditions get diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
Pediatric Eye Exams
At New York Ophthalmology, our team understands that any kind of doctor appointment can create anxiety for children. We’re dedicated to making both the child and their parent or guardian as comfortable as possible during the eye exam. The appointment itself is tailored to the children’s ages, especially regarding their ability to read.
For younger children, it’s best to schedule eye appointments at times they are normally rested. That’s typically in the morning. Preparing children for the appointment before leaving home can greatly help the eye tests go smoothly. Even though we try to see all patients as promptly as possible, be sure to bring along a favorite toy and snacks in case there is a longer-than-expected wait.
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What to Expect
During the eye exam, our doctors check for squinting, eyelids drooping, problems with facial muscles, and any redness or swelling around the eyes. They use a penlight to check that the child’s pupils respond normally.
Some of the other conditions checked during the exam include:
- Eye alignment
- Near convergence – the point at which both eyes together can see a single image
- Near point of accommodation – the closest point at which an image is seen clearly
- Stereopsis – ability to see in 3 dimensions
- Color vision
- Peripheral (side) vision
If any of these initial tests indicate a potential problem, more extensive testing may be done later in the exam. If a child is too young to read, our doctors use a chart with the letter E headed up, down, left, and right. We then ask the child to point in the correct direction.
- One or both eyes turning in or out
- Tearing, redness, or discharge that lasts for several days
- One pupil that appears larger than the other
- Suffering from headaches
- Asking to sit closer to the blackboard at school
- Sitting too close to the television
- Squinting or rubbing eyes excessively
- Difficulty catching a ball
- Not wanting to look at books
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with an eye doctor. You can request an appointment with an ophthalmologist or optometrist in Queen, the Bronx, Manhattan, or Brooklyn using the online form. Or call one of our offices directly at 866-599-8774.