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EYE EXAMS FOR CHILDREN

As a parent, you may wonder whether your pre-schooler has a vision problem or when a first eye exam should be scheduled.

Eye exams for children are extremely important. Experts say 5% to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child's vision problem is crucial because, if left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss.

When Should Kids Have Their Eyes Examined?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.

For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or according to their eye doctor's recommendations.

Early eye exams also are important because children need the following basic visual skills for learning:

  • Near vision

  • Distance vision

  • Eye teaming (binocularity) skills

  • Eye movement skills

  • Focusing skills

  • Peripheral awareness

  • Eye/hand coordination
     

Because of the importance of good vision for learning, some states require an eye exam for all children entering school for the first time. 

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