When should my child first get their eyes examined?
Approximately 80% of a child’s learning prior to the age of 12 is related to vision.
Infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter kindergarten or first grade — at about age 5 or 6.
If there is a family history of strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia, or other childhood eye disorder, infants should be evaluated for refractive error and eye health as early as 6 months of age by a pediatric eye care specialist. Annual comprehensive eye exams should be performed on all children when they reach the age of 5 or 6, or when they are starting kindergarten or first grade.
How often should children get their eyes checked?
Annual comprehensive eye exams are recommended for all school-age children, even if your child does not have any eye complaints. Unfortunately, parents and educators often incorrectly assume that if a child passes a school screening, then there is no vision problem. However, many pediatrician and school vision screenings only test for distance visual acuity. A child who can see 20/20 can still have a vision problem. In reality, the vision skills needed for successful reading and learning are much more complex.
Even if a child passes a vision screening, they should receive a comprehensive optometric examination if:
They show any signs or symptoms of a vision problem
They are not achieving up to their potential
Vision changes can occur without your child or you noticing them. Therefore, your child should receive an eye examination every year, or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. The earlier a vision problem is detected and treated, the more likely treatment will be successful.
The following is a guideline for having your child receive a comprehensive eye exam:
They are minimally able to achieve, but have to use excessive time and effort to do so
Birth to 2 years: Once at 6 to 12 months of age
3 through 5 years: At least once between 3 and 5 years of age
Of course, if a child is complaining of any eye discomfort or change in their vision, they should be seen right away, regardless of when their eyes were last checked.
Schedule your child’s appointment today.
6 through 18 years: Before kindergarten or first grade and annually thereafter
Do you see infants?
Yes. We can examine infants as young as 6 months of age for refractive error, eye alignment and general ocular health.
Do you see adults?
Yes, for specialized cases only. We see adult patients who may be suffering with post-concussion syndrome accompanied by lingering ocular symptoms. We also see adults with a history of strabismus and/or a history of strabismus surgery who have binocular vision symptoms.
What makes a comprehensive pediatric eye exam different from a standard eye exam or vision screening?
Comprehensive pediatric eye exams are specifically designed to test not only for sight accuracy and eye health but how well your child’s eyes work together. Eye-brain coordination symptoms can affect your child's reading and comprehension, cause concentration issues and often headaches. A complete eye health evaluation, refraction and consultation will be performed to rule out disease or other eye related problems. Corrective lenses, other treatments or referral to other medical specialists will be recommended, if needed. A pediatric optometrist is specifically trained to assess a young child with a series of objective tests that can determine prescription, eye positioning and eye health without much response from the child. Most parents are surprised to learn that pediatric optometrists can assess a child’s vision before they learn their letters, or even before they can respond verbally.
There are some vision conditions that do not have any symptoms and can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam using dilating drops. Children are sometimes able to mask an underlying condition that may lead to longer lasting vision issues if not caught and corrected at a young age.
What should I do to help my child prepare for their eye exam?
Less preparation is generally best! You should expect your child to like their doctor and enjoy their visit. Dr. Squeri has dedicated her career and practice to treating children and providing the best care as well as best experience during and after your child’s visit.
Here are some additional pointers:
Talk positively about your child’s visit and how they will enjoy seeing the eye doctor.
Make the appointment for a time of day that is good for your child. They should be well rested and fed, and not over stimulated.
Please bring any previous eyeglasses or contacts to our office at the time of the visit and any reports from previous eye exams or other referring doctors.
What should I expect at my child’s first eye exam?
You should expect to spend an hour or more in the office. Your child will be asked a series of questions and given many simple, fun tasks to assess various components of their vision. An eye health evaluation will be done, including dilation using eye drops. After dilation, they will be light sensitive and their near vision will be blurry for a few hours. Please plan accordingly when scheduling appointments.
My child is having headaches when reading and doing school work. What should I do?
If your child is having headaches and eye strain when reading and focusing on near tasks, they should first have a comprehensive eye exam to rule out any refractive error or ocular health issues. If your child’s recent exam done in our office or by another eye doctor does not reveal a problem, completing our Functional Vision Survey can help in determining if a Binocular Vision Evaluation is needed. If you think your child is struggling with the symptoms on this survey, we may be able to help.
My child was recently diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (concussion) and continues to have eye problems making it difficult to return to school and return to play. What should I do?
If your child’s symptoms are visual in nature, such as the ones listed on our
Concussion Survey, they may benefit from neuro-optometric therapy, prisms or special lenses.
To determine if any of these treatments may be of benefit, we recommend you
schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam and Post-Concussion Consultation with Dr. Squeri.
Do you accept insurance?
Our office is not a participating provider with health insurance plans and we do not file health insurance claims but we will do our best to guide you.
The receipt we provide at your visit will have a medical procedure and diagnosis code to be used for your insurance or flexible spending reimbursement submission. If you have out-of-network coverage, you can submit this receipt for reimbursement through the vision and/or medical portion of your insurance or flexible spending account.
Do you accept credit cards? If so, which ones?
Yes. We at Pediatric Optometry and Vision Care accept all major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.