When should my child have their first eye exam?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Warning signs of infant eye problems may consist of excessive tearing, constant eye turning, appearance of a white pupil, extensive light sensitivity. 

Children should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade — at age 5 or 6.  Early eye exams are also important because children need basic skills such as distance vision, reading vision, focusing skills, hand eye coordination, and binocular coordination to facilitate reading and learning. 

Uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems may inhibit a child academically, socially, and athletically.  Early identification through a high quality eye exam can identify conditions and enable children to reach their potential.

According to the American Public Health Association, about 10% of preschoolers have eye or vision problems; however, children this age generally will not voice complaints about their eyes.

Parents of preschool children should watch for these signs which may indicate vision problems; sitting close to the television, holding a book too  closely, frequent eye rubbing, constant head tilting, turning of an eye in or out, or difficulty with eye-hand coordination when playing ball or when riding a bike.

The longer a child’s vision problem goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more a child's brain learns to accommodate to the vision problem.  Early detection and treatment provide the very best opportunity to correct vision problems so your child can learn to see clearly.  Ensure your child has the best possible vision to learn successfully by scheduling an eye exam before the age of five.