Most parents don’t find eye check ups to be an essential part of their child’s routine health check ups. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association), your child should get their first eye check up done when they are 6 months old. By the time they are 6 years old, they should have had 3 comprehensive eye check ups. However, most kids under the age of 6 years have never been to an eye doctor.
Why is it important?
The earlier your doctor detects an eye problem, the better. Young children are more responsive to treatments, so an early diagnosis could help doctors find a more permanent solution.
How often should your child have an eye check up?
You should take your child for a checkup when they are as little as 6 months. Doctors need to check if your baby’s eyes are developing correctly at this stage. They will check if your baby’s pupils respond correctly to the presence and absence of light. They will also check whether his/her eyes can focus and follow an object. Myopia (near-sightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) are also checked for.
The next eye check-up milestone would be when they turn 3 years. At this age, kids may not be able to read actual letters of the alphabet, so they would instead be asked to look at pictures or basic shapes and name them. Common methods of testing include showing shapes or the letter ‘E’ and reverse ‘E’. They can show which direction the ‘E’ is pointed using three or four fingers to represent what they see.
You should then take them when they are about to join school - say when they are 5 or 6 years old. Eyesight is very important when they are trying to learn new things at school. Once they join school, you should take them for eye check-ups every 2 years. even if they don’t need to wear glasses or lens. If they require optical attention, you should take them for a checkup every year.
Take your child to an eye doctor right away and share this article with all the parents you know!