Eyesight plays a major role in a child’s development. Poor eyesight could result in poor grades at school because the child can’t easily see the board. It can also negatively impact a child’s socialization and other important skills they need to learn as they grow.

Why Do Children Need Eye Doctor Appointments?

Typically, schools will offer free eye exams for students, but these exams aren’t always the most comprehensive. It’s therefore a good idea for parents to schedule regular appointments for their child with an eye doctor. School exams don’t provide nearly as much information as an exam performed by an actual eye doctor.

Is a School Vision Screening Enough?

Even if your child passes the vision screenings at school, you should still schedule a comprehensive eye exam, according to the American Optometric Association. This is because it’s easy for a screening to miss vision problems.

When Should a Child Receive Their First Eye Exam?

According to the AOA, or the American Optometric Association, the first eye exam a child receives should be at six months of age. It’s a good idea to check on your child’s eyesight as soon as possible in order to treat any possible eye problems as quickly as possible to prevent any developmental issues.

How Early Can Vision Problems Develop?

Babies are typically born with no vision problems, which generally develop later. However, eye problems in infants are possible, so it’s important to check as early as possible.

How Often Should You Schedule Eye Exams for Your Child?

The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive an eye exam every year on the following schedule once they start school. Additionally, it’s a good idea to schedule an eye exam prior to your child’s first day of school, whether that’s kindergarten or preschool. Because learning is so tied to vision, you’ll want to catch any possible eye problems early. If your family has a history of eye problems, your child may need more frequent exams.

What Vision Problems Can Affect Learning?

Even a child with 20/20 vision could have other types of vision problems that could impact learning, such as difficulty with eye focusing, eye coordination, or eye tracking.

What Are Signs a Child Has Vision Problems?

Children aren’t always able to communicate with you that they’re having difficulties seeing or that they have another vision issue. Regular eye exams can help to catch eye problems, but it’s also a good idea for parents to keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • In babies:
    • Extreme light sensitivity
    • Constantly turning their eyes
    • Red eyelids
    • Crusted eyelids
    • White pupils
    • Frequently tearing up
  • In schoolchildren:
    • Frequently blinking
    • Frequently rubbing their eyes
    • Fatigue
    • Complaining of discomfort
    • Avoiding reading
    • Avoiding other activities that require close focus
    • Having a short attention span
    • Tilting their head
    • Covering one eye to see
    • Trouble remembering things they’ve read
    • Squinting
    • Getting headaches frequently
    • Having to move reading materials close to their face
    • Double vision
    • One eye turning when the other doesn’t

Is your child struggling with their vision?

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