Pediatric Eye Exams

baby_slide_show4bc9We, at the South Pasadena Optometric Group, make it our goal to provide only the most comprehensive eye care for children. Studies have shown that 80% of all learning is performed through vision. That’s why a comprehensive eye examination is so important, to ensure that children perform at their best academically, socially and athletically.

6 months to 3 years old
We begin our infant exams around 6 months old. During this visit, the doctor will test for excessive or unequal amounts of farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism -conditions which can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (eye turn) if left untreated. During this initial visit, the doctor will also evaluate eye muscle ability and perform a dilated examination to rule out eye health problems such as retinoblastoma, glaucoma or cataracts. Although such conditions are rare, it is important to identify children who have them at this age. If treatment is begun early, the conditions will be more easily managed.

3 years to School-age
The next recommended age for eye exams is 3 years old. At this age, the doctors’ main concern is that the preschoolers’ eyes are developing properly and preparing itself for developing visual skills such as eye-hand coordination needed for sports and eye muscle function for reading. The doctor will also test for any nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism and rule out the presence of any eye diseases. Unless the doctor advises otherwise, the next age for eye exams would be 5 years old or right before kindergarten.

School-age
During the school-age years, it is important that your child be seen at least every 2 years or sooner if recommended by the doctor. A screening at school or at the pediatrician’s office is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye examination. During the school-age years, your child’s basic vision skills will be used daily for various activities in and out of school. Any lag in any of these skills can affect their performance in learning or in sports. At each routine exam, the doctor will evaluate their vision at distance and near, binocular vision (the ability of the eyes to work together), eye muscle skill (to follow a moving target or to move their eyes across words on a page), eye focusing skill (to keep reading material clear and to change focus quickly), depth perception and peripheral awareness. Children who suffer from any delayed development in these skills can exhibit poor reading ability, avoidance of nearwork or sports, or poor concentration.

Preparing for your child’s appointment
When scheduling the appointment for your child, please take into consideration their nap times if they are still taking naps. Try to schedule the appointment after the nap time and bring snacks or milk for your child in case he gets hungry. It would be helpful to speak with your child’s teacher beforehand to find out if the teacher has noticed any unusual habits in the classroom such as squinting or covering one eye.

The doctors and staff at the South Pasadena Optometric Group understand and value the importance of a child’s potential and growth. We would be glad to answer any further questions you may have regarding your child.