Knowing what to expect at an eye exam can save you a ton of time and headaches, especially if you have children. During the toddler stage, your child may be extra active, and we know that it can be difficult to spare an hour for an eye appointment–but it’s essential for eye health and development.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends bringing your child in for a comprehensive eye exam at the following ages:
After your child turns 6, an annual eye exam is best. And during the toddler stage, that means 3 years old is the place to start.
Let’s take a look at a standard toddler eye exam chart and what to expect during a child’s eye exam to help you best prepare for this appointment. By knowing what happens during a toddler vision test, we hope you and your child will feel more at ease for a visit.
What does a toddler eye exam chart look like?
Eye doctors can use many vision tests to check your child’s eyesight. Some of these include Snellen (features multiple letters) and tumbling E (uses only Es) eye charts. By seeing which line your child can read the clearest, the optometrist can determine whether your child has 20/20 vision or something else.
These standard eye charts are great systems that have worked for many years. However, for toddlers who are learning to read, eye doctors often use an LEA symbol system. This toddler eye exam chart features symbols, such as apples, circles, houses, and squares, instead of letters.
The shapes appear in rows, much like the Snellen eye chart and tumbling E test, with the shapes being largest at the top and smallest toward the bottom. The eye doctor may highlight a specific line and ask your child what they see to determine their visual sharpness.
Your toddler must be able to distinguish basic shapes, even if they don’t know the exact word. They can either say the object out loud or point to it on a card.
What happens during a toddler vision test?
A toddler vision test checks how your child sees at various distances. If the eye doctor uses the LEA symbol system as the toddler eye exam chart, they’ll place it up to five feet in front of your child to ensure they can identify the differences between the shapes before they start. Then, they’ll have your child cover one eye at a time, and they’ll change the shape using a wheel, asking your child what they see.
To help the test go smoothly, we suggest telling your child they’re doing a great job when they express a shape. Your supportive words may make the child more likely to finish the test, which can provide more accurate results.
Summary: Toddler Eye Exam Charts and Vision Tests
Have you been wondering, ‘When should I take my child to the eye doctor for the first time as a toddler?’ Assuming your child came in for their first eye exam at 6 months old, we recommend bringing them in for another at age 3.
The optometrist will often use the LEA symbol system as the toddler eye exam chart when performing the toddler vision test. This eye chart is easier for children than many other tests since it involves basic shapes rather than letters.
Your child doesn’t need to know how to say each shape; they only need to know how to tell the differences between them and point to them when asked. So, don’t worry if your child can’t read yet. Our tests are painless and straightforward, and our eye doctors will do everything they can to help your little one feel comfortable.
Ready to schedule your toddler a vision test? Call your nearest For Eyes today to book an appointment.