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How Old Does a Child Need to Be For Their First Eye Exam?

When should a child get their first eye exam? Here’s what you need to know about eye exams for babies, toddlers, and little kids.

Parents often wonder, “When should a child get their first eye exam?” After all, parents take their kids to the doctor and dentist for regular checkups, so it makes sense for them to see an eye doctor. Not all parents know when the right time is for a child’s first eye exam. Here are some of our answers to parents’ most common questions about children’s eye exams. 


When should a child get their eyes checked? 

The American Optometric Association recommends a visit to the eye doctor for a baby eye test when a child is between six and twelve months of age. This initial visit is usually brief and just intended to make sure there are no current eye problems to address. The AOA also advises parents to schedule a toddler eye exam at some point between three and five years of age. At Horizon, we see children 5 years and older.  


Why are eye exams important? 

Child eye exams can identify vision problems and underlying health issues. It’s very important that a child can see clearly in school, or their academic progress could be severely hindered. Monitoring eye health and any vision changes is key in early age. 


What eye tests are used for infants, toddlers and children? 

Most often, child eye exams are simple and straightforward. Usually, the doctor will check visual acuity by asking the child to read an eye chart. If they’re not yet able to read, most eye centers will have other chart options (such as one with shapes) available. The doctor will also typically check eye movement, pupil reaction, and perform a quick health assessment. 


Do schools do any eye screenings for kids? 

Many schools will test students’ vision, starting in elementary school, but this is not to be confused with a comprehensive eye exam. A school vision test may help identify vision difficulties but isn’t designed to identify underlying problems. It is still very important for children to get a complete eye exam at a dedicated eye center. 


Is your child five or older, and in need of an eye exam? Contact us to schedule this anytime!