Accessibility View Close toolbar

Vision Exams For Children

Most people don't think about their child’s vision unless they have trouble reading the board at school. After all, young eyes are healthy eyes, right? Not necessarily. According to the Vision Council of America, 1 in every 4 children has a vision problem that can interfere with learning and behavior.

If your child hasn't had a comprehensive eye exam, they are not alone. Half of all American children have not had a comprehensive eye exam. Of them, many need glasses and don't even know it. And because 80% of everything children learn comes through their eyes, uncorrected vision problems impact their ability to learn and interact with the world around them.

My child gets vision screenings at school, isn't that good enough?

Children_Eyes.jpgNo. Many parents believe that school vision screenings are sufficient care for their children's eyes. But this is not true. Simple eye checks are good for detecting some common problems such as trouble seeing distance. However, they may not catch everything, including astigmatism and blurred vision, just to name a few. Click the link to learn more about the difference between school vision screenings and eye exams from the American Optometic Association.

Children's Vision Development

Infant Vision

As your child grows and develops so will their vision. Your baby's eyes will be checked at birth and during well-baby visits throughout the first year.  All babies should receive a infant's eye exam, which is possible with the InfantSee program.  Babies usually see movement before anything else. Full-term babies should be able to see their mother's facial expression within a week of birth.  Color vision and depth perception aren't yet fully developed and eye muscle coordination is also very immature. Babies often have eyes that are turned in, turned out or not working as a team, a condition known as strabismus. If this problem doesn't resolve itself by the age of three or four months, consult an eye doctor.

Preschooler Vision

From ages 3 to 6, your child will be fine-tuning the vision already developed during the infant and toddler years. Older preschoolers are learning how to use sports equipment and working on the fine motor skills needed to write their names. Watch for the warning signs of visual problems, such as sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close, squinting, head tilting, eye rubbing and sensitivity to light. Farsightedness and strabismus are common problems with this age group. However, some problems might not have a sign; only an eye doctor can tell.  If your child exhibits no symptoms of a visual problem, he should have a children's eye exam by the age of 3. Having a complete children's eye exam even before the child enters school allows enough time to catch and correct any problems while the visual system is still flexible.  

School Aged Children

School-age children should receive a children's eye exam before entering kindergarten and regularly after that even if they have no visual problems.  If your child requires glasses or contact lenses for refractive errors, schedule visits every 12 months.  A vision screening performed by your pediatrician or the school nurse is not a complete eye exam. These vision screenings are designed to alert parents to the possibility of a visual problem and do not take the place of a visit to the eye doctor. Although helpful, studies show that these vision screenings may miss sight-threatening eye conditions.

Warning Signs and Risks for Vision Problems in Children

  • Squinting, closing or covering one eye
  • Constantly holding materials close to the face
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Rubbing eyes repeatedly
  • One or both eyes turn in or out
  • Redness or tearing in eyes after reading
  • Developmental delays
  • Family history of lazy eye
  • Frequent headaches
  • Losing place when reading or rereading lines often

Eye and vision problems that affect children

Besides looking for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism (refractive errors), your pediatric eye doctor will be examining your child's eyes for signs of these eye and vision problems commonly found in young children:

Amblyopia. Also commonly called "lazy eye," this is decreased vision in one or both eyes despite the absence of any eye health problem or damage. Common causes of amblyopia include strabismus (see below) and a significant difference in the refractive errors of the two eyes. Treatment of amblyopia may include patching the dominant eye to strengthen the weaker eye.

Strabismus. This is misalignment of the eyes, often caused by a congenital defect in the positioning or strength of muscles that are attached to the eye and which control eye positioning and movement. Left untreated, strabismus can cause amblyopia in the misaligned eye. Depending on its cause and severity, surgery may be required to treat strabismus.

Convergence insufficiency. This is the inability to keep the eye comfortably aligned for reading and other near tasks. Convergence insufficiency can often be successfully treated with vision therapy, a specific program of eye exercises.

Focusing problems. Children with focusing problems (also called accommodation problems) may have trouble changing focus from distance to near and back again (accommodative infacility) or have problems maintaining adequate focus for reading (accommodative insufficiency). These problems often can be successfully treated with vision therapy.

Eye teaming problems. Many eye teaming (binocularity) problems are more subtle than strabismus.  Deficiencies in eye teaming skills can cause problems with depth perception and coordination.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you.

Monday:

9:00am

6:00pm

Tuesday:

9:00am

6:00pm

Wednesday:

9:00am

6:00pm

Thursday:

9:00am

6:00pm

Friday:

9:00am

5:00pm

Saturday:

By Appt.

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

  • "We have noticed a huge improvement with our son during and after completing his vision therapy with A New Vision. He is reading at a much higher level, his grades have improved, his confidence has increased, and homework is not taking so long. His improvements are life changing! Thank you so much!"
    D.H. / Beaverton, OR

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

  • Curbing Macular Degeneration

    Macular degeneration represents one of the most significant causes of vision loss in older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.8 million people currently suffer from macular degeneration, with an additional 7.3 million people at risk of developing this ...

    Read More
  • Premature Babies and Vision Problems

    Prematurity can cause a range of vision problems. Fortunately, optometrists offer a range of treatments and devices that can improve your child's ability to see. ...

    Read More
  • What Do Your Eyes Say About Your Health?

    Subtle changes in your eyes may be the first signs of a health problem. ...

    Read More
  • Makeup Tips for Sensitive Eyes

    Does your cosmetics make your eyes water and burn? Try these makeup tips for sensitive eyes. ...

    Read More
  • How to Clean Your Eyeglasses

    Do you know how to clean your eyeglasses correctly? Take a look a few tips that will keep your specs cleaner. ...

    Read More
  • All About Amblyopia

    Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a visual disorder caused by abnormal vision development, often occurring during infancy. Patients with amblyopia have reduced vision in one eye, because it is not working properly in conjunction with the brain. With early detection and proper treatment, loss of ...

    Read More
  • All About Glaucoma

    Glaucoma is a serious disorder that can damage the optic nerves of your eyes if left untreated. The optic nerve carries images from your eyes to your brain. If the nerve is damaged, full or partial vision loss can occur. In some cases, people develop glaucoma because the pressure in their eyes begins ...

    Read More
  • Binocular Vision: Disorders and Treatment

    For many, the term binocular vision conjures images of super powers or the rare ability to spot objects far away, but having binocular vision simply means having two eyes with which to see. Binocular vision does lend creatures with two eyes advantages over those with only one, such as enhanced vision, ...

    Read More
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: What Is It?

    Diabetic retinopathy refers to several eye problems that are characterized by damage to the light-sensitive retina, caused by excessive blood sugar levels. Almost half of Americans with diabetes suffer from some level of diabetic retinopathy. When glucose levels in the blood are not properly controlled, ...

    Read More
  • Glaucoma Care: What You Need to Know

    Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, reports the Glaucoma Research Foundation. This common eye condition typically affects older adults, although infants and young adults are also at risk. Fortunately, however, cutting-edge research is improving diagnosis and treatment of this ...

    Read More