Contributed by Dr. Katherine Schuetz with Little Eyes in Carmel, Indiana (https://littleeyes.com/)
Pediatric “Well Checks” for Eyes
All kids need well-checks. With their pediatrician, with their dentist, and even with their eye doctor. Most kids don’t need glasses, just as most kids don’t have a new cavity or chronic illness that keeps them going back every year to their doctors. But as parents, we keep sending our children in for these “well checks” so that we can be sure we know their bodies are healthy. It’s wonderful preventative medicine, and it applies to the eyes as well. There are a few things that family doctors and pediatricians cannot comprehensively do during a yearly well check, and an eye exam is one of them. We are so grateful that our kids read the eye chart at school or a physical or yearly check up, but the reality is that reading a chart is a very small piece of the puzzle, and there a many false positives and false negatives when patients are referred in for eye exams simply based on how they read a chart.
Make sure your kids heave the healthy eyes you assume they do by seeing an eye doctor. Eye doctors obviously check vision and the prescription, but they can also take care of styes, pink eye and eye injuries. Children do not have to be able to say a word for doctors to know if they need a glasses prescription, so an eye exam can be done at any age. It is recommended for all kids to be checked at least by age 5, but it’s great to see kids at age 3 to be sure we aren’t missing factors that will cause lazy eye. Younger kids may benefit from an eye doctor that has special training and equipment for younger patients. An eye exam for a young child should be easy and fun. Make your child’s appointment to see an eye doctor for the first time today!
For more information, check out these additional resources:
Infant Vision Development: What Can Babies See? (HealthyChildren.org)
Vision Screenings (HealthyChildren.org)