As we begin to see more young patients in our offices this time of year in preparation for back-to-school, it reminds us that knowing when to schedule your child’s first eye exam is often a bit confusing for parents.
Scheduling your child’s first eye exam
For some school-aged children, a back-to-school eye exam may be their first visit to the eye doctor. For others it could be the second or third. This brings us to a frequently asked question.
When should you schedule your child’s first eye exam? In a nutshell, the sooner the better. However, the exact age of when to schedule your child’s first eye exam could vary slightly.
When to visit the eye doctor
Babies’ eyes are typically checked early by a pediatrician as part of their overall health assessment. But it’s important to take young children to the eye doctor for more thorough exams as well.
Even though an infant can’t identify pictures or letters yet, there are different ways to check the development of eyes.
Some experts recommend scheduling your child’s first eye exam as early as 6-months-old. Others simply suggest it’s a good idea to have your child seen at least once before the age of 1-year and then again before preschool or kindergarten.
Why so young?
Early detection can mean the difference between a minor issue now and a major one later. Lazy eye, for example, is a common eye condition in young children.
To clarify, a lazy eye—or amblyopia—means one eye is weaker than the other. It often develops in children under the age of 5, and if left untreated, could become worse or even permanent.
The good news is a routine children’s eye exam can detect a lazy eye. Then a proper treatment plan can be established, and oftentimes the eye is strengthened. Consequently, this avoids major, or possibly permanent, vision loss.
Of course, when to schedule your child’s first eye exam could also depend on factors such as family history, apparent or suspected issues. When in doubt, reach out to your local Mississippi Eye Care clinic to find the answers you need. For more vision health tips and news, keep reading our blogs.