As a new parent you may be wondering when the right time is for you to take your child in for their first eye exam. Your child had their first eye exam immediately after they were born and again after 6 weeks. After that, children normally get their eyes examined at the age of 3 and then again just after they turn 5 or 6. It is very important that you have your childs eyes examined at least once every 2 years 25% of all children have visual problems.
There are some observable symptoms that will tell you whether or not your child is having eye problems. You may notice that they hold their books too close to their face, sit too close to the TV, have teary eyes all the time and there may be excessive scratching. Your preschooler may also complain of headaches. If you notice any of these symptoms you should take your child to an optometrist or an orthoptist (an eye doctor who works in a hospital) right away.
The other thing you should look out for is lazy eye. Most people assume that a lazy eye as one that turns in or out nut it is more complicated than that and should be dealt with immediately it is noticed. What causes a lazy eye is often excessively clear vision ion one eye that overstimulates the brain. As a defense mechanism the brain simply shuts down this one overactive eye that doesnt have very clear vision in order to minimize confusion. This can, fortunately, be reversed if it is treated early. If, however, you leave until the age of 8 or 9 your child may have to live with a lazy eye for the rest of their lives.
The same thing goes for a squint. They can be detected early on and reversed but if you fail to take action when your child is in their formative age the squint may get worse and worse as your child grows older.
If your child is scared of going to the eye doctor it is important that you reassure them that the exams will not hurt at all. The ophthalmologist sometimes uses eye drops to make it easier to test whether your child has proper vision and also whether the backs of the eyes are healthy. They will also perform a series of reading and observation tests that determine whether your child has a lazy eye or a squint.
If the eye doctor prescribes glasses your child may have a hard time keeping them on the first few weeks they may be uncomfortable or they may simply forget. You should insist that they have them on in a short time they will get used to them. Make sure that you take them for an eye test at least once a year – often, the prescription for their glasses will have changed and if they keep on wearing the same old ones they could harm their eyesight even further.