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When Should Your Child Start Seeing an Eye Doctor?

Childrens eye health blog

As children return to school this Fall, parents and teachers should be on the lookout for symptoms that may indicate adolescent eye problems. From blinking or rubbing eyes to seeing spots in vision, there are several eye problems that can begin during childhood that require expert treatment. Our team of doctors at ReFocus Eye Health are committed to healthy vision for people of all ages and have some helpful reminders when determining if a child should see an eye doctor.


Schedule for Vision Screenings

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), a vision screening is a more efficient eye exam. A child is “screened” for eye problems and referred to an ophthalmologist if a further comprehensive exam is needed. Vision screenings can be completed by a pediatrician, family physician, ophthalmologist, or other properly-trained healthcare provider.

AAO recommends that children receive vision screenings at the following ages:

  • Newborn – Shortly after birth, a newborn’s eyes should be screened for basic indicators of eye health (blinking, pupil response, etc.)
  • 6-12 months – This exam, often completed at a child’s well-child visit, includes similar testing as the newborn visit along with visually inspecting the eyes and checking for healthy eye alignment and movement
  • 12-36 months – Another routine check for healthy eye development, a child can be referred to an ophthalmologist if needed
  • 3-5 years – a child’s vision, eye alignment and visual acuity (sharpness of vision) should be tested
  • 5 years and older – at 5, children should be screened for visual acuity and alignment. An ophthalmologist can recommend a schedule after 5, based on your child’s needs


Adolescent Eye Problems & Treatments

While there are several eye problems that can be present in young children, our experts are focusing on a few to increase awareness and understanding.

  • Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) – this is poor vision in an eye that did not develop vision normally during childhood. Per AAO, a child can get amblyopia when they do not receive treatment for problems like refractive errors, strabismus (misaligned eyes), droopy eyelids or cataracts. While amblyopia cannot be treated with surgery, typical treatment options include glasses and eye patches
  • Ptosis (Droopy Eyelid) – Ptosis is a droopy eyelid that can block vision. If an eyelid is drooping very low, the recommended treatment to raise it is surgery. By raising the eyelid, vision can be further preserved in the impacted eye
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – this is an irritation of the white part of the eye from infection or allergy. Pink eye can be viral or bacterial , which is contagious and easy to spread, or allergic, which is not contagious. Symptoms of pink eye include itchiness, redness, or a sticky discharge. Pink eye can typically go away on its own within a week, however sometimes a doctor may prescribe antibiotics for treatment


Now is an excellent time to schedule an appointment with our expert ophthalmologists at ReFocus Eye Health to assess your children’s vision and treat any issues. We are proud to serve your family, as your eye health is our priority!