Studies show 1 in 4 school aged children have an uncorrected vision problem, and only 1 in 10 have had a comprehensive eye examination. When a child’s vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer. Children should have their first eye exam around the age of 9 months through the InfantSEE Program. If the first exam shows their eyes are healthy, their next appointment should be between the age of 2-3, then again before they start first grade (about age 5 or 6).
Although many schools offer vision screenings, they are not comprehensive exams and many vision conditions are missed. Likewise, the vision screening at the pediatrician’s office is not a comprehensive exam. A comprehensive exam determines not only if your child needs glasses, but will also assess the health of the eyes, their ability to focus and how they work together as a team. Because vision may change frequently as your child grows, regular eye and vision care is important. We recommend yearly eye exams for school aged children.
Some children may complain if they are not able to see well, but most children don’t realize that their blurry vision is not normal. Symptoms of vision problems in children include rubbing the eyes, squinting, frequent headaches, or closing an eye to see better. Other clues to vision problems may be poor grades in school, skipping lines when reading, short attention span, or avoidance of reading. Early detection and treatment of vision problems lead to better outcomes for the child during school aged years and into adulthood.