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When Should a Child Have Their Eyes Examined?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 04:42 PM

children's eye exams

As a new school year begins, children of all ages make their way back into the classroom.  They sit, facing their teacher and notes written on a whiteboard or projected onto a screen.  They pull out notebooks, tablets, or laptops, and begin to take note of what they’re being taught.  Unfortunately, for some of these children, the taking of those notes may seem even more difficult than the exams they will need to pass.  For the ones who struggle with their vision, the information at the front of the classroom that is vital to their success may be nothing more than a blur. 


As a parent, you want your child to have success and will do nearly anything to help them achieve it.  However, worsening eyesight may be a serious problem of which you aren’t even aware.  An estimated 5-10% of preschoolers and 25% of school-aged children have some sort of vision problem, and with 80% of all learning occurring visually, it’s a serious problem to have. 


Signs of a Problem


Children may not always be forthcoming about the difficulties they have with their eyesight, so it is important to be aware of the signs of a vision problem.  Take notice if your child has any of the following:

  • Light sensitivity

  • Redness or tearing

  • Squinting

  • Sitting too closely to the TV

  • Trouble seeing written words, images, or objects from a distance

  • Continual rubbing of the eyes


If any of these signs are present, contact your eye doctor to schedule an eye exam


However, it is very important to understand that many children will show no signs of a vision problem.  In fact, if they have one blurry eye and one clear eye they will likely have no idea that there is a problem since the clear eye will compensate for the other one.  They will feel that they see fine and will seldom say anything to a parent since they are not struggling.  This is actually a more serious situation than that of a child with two blurry eyes.  The developing brain will start to ignore the blurry eye if it has a clear one to rely on – a condition called amblyopia (or “lazy eye”).  This blur can become permanent since the brain stops developing the vision in the ignored eye.  If both eyes are blurry the brain can’t pick one to ignore so those children usually do fine.  This is why screening exams are crucial to find children with one blurry eye before the deficit becomes permanent.


Eye Exams


Therefore, even in the absence of symptoms, regular eye exams are necessary for optimal vision and eye health.  Many schools may offer vision screenings at some point during the school year, and while these are helpful, there are still problems that they are not capable of identifying.  Maintaining regular eye exams at recommended intervals is crucial. Here is when your child should ideally see an ophthalmologist:

  • Infancy – Children should have their eyes examined at 6 months of age or sooner if deemed at risk and recommended by your physician

  • 2 – 5 Years – A second eye exam should be completed at 3 years old or sooner based on physician recommendation

  • 6 – 18 Years – A third eye exam should be conducted prior to beginning first grade and should then take place every two years.  If a child is deemed high-risk by your doctor, he or she may need to be seen annually or at a frequency that your physician recommends.


As your child begins another school year, take the time to ensure one of most important tools for their success: good vision.  If your child has exhibited signs of vision problems or is due for their recommended eye exam, don’t wait.  Contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana and request an appointment with one of our highly-qualified ophthalmologists.  A visit with one of our physicians can help identify and address any issues with vision or eye health.  Contact our office by clicking here or calling us directly at (225) 768-7777.


If you would like to learn more about healthy vision as well as some habits that may be damaging to it, click the image below for a free copy of our informative guide.

16 Reasons To Visit An Ophthalmologist

Tags: Eye Exams

16 Reason To Visit An Ophthalmologist

16 Reasons To Visit An Ophthalmologist

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