Have Your Kids Seen the Eye Doctor This Year?

Looking out for your child’s vision health should include an annual trip to the eye doctor.

Vision plays a central role in your child’s life. It’s a primary way children find out about the world around them. In fact, about 80 percent of what adults and children learn is through the eyes.1 Yet 5 percent to 10 percent of children have undetected vision problems.2

Up to 10 percent of children have undetected vision problems.

Just like check-ups and trips to the dentist, bringing your child in for an annual eye exam is an important way you can help him or her to stay well.

When to start scheduling your child for exams

Between 6 months of age and 1 year, your child should have his or her first eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The doctor will check for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, amblyopia (or “lazy eye”), proper eye movement and eye alignment, how the eye reacts to light and darkness, and other eye health problems.3

Your child’s next eye exam should take place sometime between the ages of 3 and 5, and then every year after that. During these exams, the doctor will conduct a comprehensive eye exam as well as vision screening tests.4

Seeing an eye doctor matters

Because children often don’t realize they have a vision problem, it’s important they have a comprehensive eye exam conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. And while vision screenings performed at your child’s school can be helpful, they should not be considered a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.

  1. Gazzaniga, M.S.; Ivry, R. B.; Jangun, G. R.; Cognitive Neuroscience, the Biology of the Mind. New York: WW Norton & Co., 1998.
  2. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services. 2nd Edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1996.
  3. American Optometric Association, “Infant Vision: Birth to 24 Months of Age,” 2010.
  4. American Optometric Association, “Infant Vision: Preschool Vision: 2 to 5 Years of Age,” 2010.