Eye Exam FAQs: Shining New Light on Eye Exams for Kids

As a parent, putting your children first is easy. Ensuring their security and wellness just comes naturally. But some aspects of wellness are more obvious than others, and oftentimes checking your children’s vision for the first time may not be at the top of your mind. Not to worry, the answers to these commonly asked questions about vision care for kids will hopefully give you some helpful insights.

In general, why should I be concerned about my child’s vision?

While, yes, people generally have more vision problems as they grow older, children’s eyes continue to develop after they are born. If a problem can be detected before the age of seven, when the eyes stop maturing, then permanent vision correction is much more effective. 

Wouldn’t my child complain if they couldn’t see clearly?

It’s much more difficult to understand what clear vision is when someone starts out with vision problems. Less than 22% of preschool children receive any kind of vision screening, and as a result, one in four children have undetected vision problems. Given that we learn primarily through our eyes, this can have a negative effect on a child’s development. 

What’s the difference between a vision screening and an eye exam?

Many school systems around the country have general vision screenings to test for vision impairment in all of their students. While this is a good start, a vision screening can only reveal a possible vision problem but not diagnose it. A comprehensive dilated eye exam by a trained optometrist or ophthalmologist is the only way to properly diagnose eye diseases. 

School Screening

  • Visual acuity
  • Eyes working together
  • Basic eye health

Comprehensive Eye Exam

  • Visual acuity
  • Eyes working together
  • Basic eye health
  • Chronic diseases
  • Color vision

Why should I take my child to the eye doctor?

Some diseases affecting the eyes, like diabetes, have no symptoms but can be detected by your eye doctor. Plus, subtle problems, like a lazy eye or poor eye alignment, can affect your child’s reading abilities. The sooner they’re diagnosed, the better. 

How often should my child have an eye exam?

The CDC recommends children have at least one comprehensive eye exam between the ages of three and five. But to ensure early detection and treatment, these intervals are recommended for optimal care: 

6 months old: First comprehensive eye exam.

3 years old: First checkup after infancy to make sure there are no changes to the eyes. 

School-age children: Exam at five years old, and annually thereafter, even if no vision correction is required. 

Ultimately, giving your child the best start possible includes a quick trip to the eye doctor. The good news is, most vision problems are easily corrected with glasses or contacts. And with your family plan from VSP , your children’s appointments are covered—just like yours. 

If you don’t have vision insurance, find out how VSP can help you save on your next eye exam or pair of glasses.

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Sources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/risk/age.htm 

https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthyvision/