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Our eyesight evolves throughout our lives, and children’s eyes are only beginning to develop, which is why regular exam of your eyes is important. Checking on the eyes every year allows the optometrist to identify and diagnose any vision or eye health issues that may develop. And it gives them a baseline for how much these issues have changed over a given period. 

The great news is you don’t have to search for “places to get eye exams near you.” You can just visit your local For Eyes to see a nearby Independent Doctor of Optometry. It’s that easy.

 


 

What is a comprehensive eye exam?

Different from a vision screening, which identifies minor eye issues, an eye exam is a comprehensive assessment of your ocular health and visual acuity. Throughout the exam, the Independent Doctor of Optometry may inquire about your family medical history, vision concerns, and lifestyle choices that may impact your child's sight. 

The full exam will last between an hour to an hour and a half. This will allow the optometrist to take the time to analyze your eyes and determine if glasses are necessary. If it turns out that your child has a refractive error, the doctor may recommend prescription eyeglasses. They can also offer other tips to maintain healthy vision. 

Signs your child needs an eye exam:

  1. Squinting or closing one eye
  2. Sitting in front of the television or holding objects too close to their face
  3. Experiencing eye pain or headaches
  4. Having a hard time focusing and reading
  5. Rubbing their eyes frequently

 

 

What happens during an eye exam?

There is nothing to fear during a child's eye exam.  The the For Eyes team and Independnt Doctors of Optometry are there to make it as comfortable as possible. During the appointment, the optometrist may:

  • Review your medical history. They may ask you questions to assess potential vision issues and learn more about overall eye health. 
  • Dilate the eyes  to get a better look inside of the eye.
  • Perform vision tests. To assess your child's eye health, optometrist will test for refractive issues, such as astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness, as well for other eye conditions. By identifying these issues early on, the optometrist will be able to recommend prescription lenses and other ways to improve symptoms.
  • Assess your eye coordination. The optometrist may run a series of tests to identify how your eyes respond to stimulation. If you have crossed eyes or lazy eyes, the optometrist may recommend vision therapy, which will teach you basic exercises to overcome your eye issues.  

     

Throughout the exam, parents are encouraged to ask questions. We want you to feel comfortable discussing any concerns you may have. This will also help us perform a more comprehensive eye exam on your child. After all, these eye exams are vital to your child’s development and overall health. 

 
 
 

 

Are Vision Screenings Enough? 

 

Your child's school may offer vision screenings. While they do offer insight into visual acuity, it is not as extensive as an eye exam. We recommend that every child should receive an annual eye exam to detect and monitor any vision issues early.  If your child does have a prescription, it is important to keep it current because their eyes do change. 

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Screen Time and Digital Devices 

Usage of digital screens is at an all-time high for people of all ages, impacting overall eye health.  Every day, children ages 8 to 18 spend over seven hours in front of digital devices. The American Heart Association suggests that two hours of screen time at most per day is optimal. That is five hours less than what children are spending on average in front of a screen every day.

Too much time on screens can cause digital eye strain which includes symtoms such as headaches, dry eyes and eye fatigue. Any time your child is using a computer, cell phone, tablet, watching television or playing video games, they are being expose to blue light.

 

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Protection From Blue Light

You may want to consider blue light filtering glasses (with or without prescription) as an option for your child. It will help with video game eye strain and keep these symptoms at bay.


How often should children receive an eye exam?

Here are the general guidelines of how often you should receive a comprehensive eye exam: 

6 months old: Your child’s first eye exam should be at 6 months old. By this age, they are developing hand-eye coordination skills by observing how objects move back and forth. Their eye movement skills may also be strengthening.

3 years old: As your child grows, their eyesight may change so they will need another exam when they turn 3.  At age 3, there is an increased risk of eye problems in kids, such as crossed eyes.

6 years old: Your child’s learning can depend on their vision, so take them in for an eye exam at 6 years old, or around the time they start school. During the school year, your child’s eyes may be tested with more visual activities than they are used to, including learning how to use a computer and reading. After age 6, your child should have a comprehensive eye exam every year. 

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