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Looking for the Best Eyecare for Kids?

Children’s eyes are only starting to develop, making regular eye examinations more important than ever. By scheduling an annual eye appointment for your kids, you can help the optometrist to keep tabs on and diagnose vision issues of all kinds (as well as monitor how they develop). 

Fortunately, there’s no need to search for “places to get eye exams near you.” You can just book an appointment at your local For Eyes with a qualified Independent Doctor of Optometry. It’s truly that simple to get eyecare for your kids!


 

What is a comprehensive eye examination, and why is it important for your kids’ eyecare?

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 a child’s eye exam?

An eye exam can look different depending on your child’s age. However, there is nothing to fear. The For Eyes team and Independent Doctors of Optometry are there to make it as comfortable as possible for your little one. During the appointment, the optometrist may:

  • Review your child’s medical history. They may ask you questions to assess potential vision issues and risk factors. This is a great way for them to learn more about your child’s overall eye health. 
  • Dilate the eyes. That will give them a better look inside of the eye and allow them to pinpoint problems (or early signs of problems). 
  • Perform vision tests. To assess your child's eye health, the optometrist will test for refractive issues (astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness), as well as for other eye conditions. By identifying these issues early on, the optometrist will be able to recommend prescription lenses and other ways to improve your child’s symptoms (blurry vision, closing one eye to see, eye strain, etc.). 
  • Assess your child’s eye coordination. The optometrist may run a series of tests to identify how your eyes respond to stimulation. If they have crossed eyes or a lazy eye, the optometrist may recommend vision therapy, which will teach basic exercises to help your little one overcome their eye issues.  


Throughout the eye exam, parents are encouraged to ask questions. We want you to feel comfortable discussing any concerns you may have about eyecare for your kids. 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 

Digital screen usage 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 symptoms such as headaches, dry eyes, and eye fatigue. Any time your child is using a digital device (computer, cell phone, tablet, etc.), watching television, or playing video games, they are exposed to blue light.

 

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Protection From Blue Light

What can you do if your child spends a lot of time with digital devices? Talk to an eye doctor for kids about blue-light filtering glasses (with or without prescription). It can help with video game eye strain and eye fatigue, and keep those 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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FAQs About Children’s Eyecare 

Below are some common questions about eyecare for kids.

What is good for kids’ eyesight?

To promote your child’s eyesight, you can encourage them to eat lots of eye-healthy foods, including oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, salmon, and tuna. If they have a prescription, it’s also important to have them wear the glasses as often as the eye doctor deems appropriate. Another great way to support your child’s vision is to schedule regular comprehensive eye examinations. 

Can eyesight be improved in kids?

Absolutely! Your child’s eyesight can change in many ways as they get older–for better or worse. Check out our blog for what you need to know. 

Can a 4-year-old get glasses?

Yes, it is possible for a 4-year-old to wear glasses. First, you’ll want to take them in to see the eye doctor to see what kinds of vision problems your child is facing. The eye doctor will perform various eye tests to assess what’s going on and whether glasses are right for your child. 

 

This content was originally published on April 15, 2019, and expanded in August 2022. 

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