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Why Every Child Needs a Pediatric Eye Exam

You might think your child won't need to see an optometrist until they are old enough to go to school. However, according to guidelines put into place by the American Optometric Association (AOA), children should have their first eye exam at the age of 6 months. Their next exam should be at the age of three and again at age 5 or 6, or before starting kindergarten. It's so important that children get their eyes examined at a young age because good vision is vital when it comes to learning.

child receiving a pediatric eye exam from his optometrist

What Children Can Expect During an Eye Exam

Besides ensuring that your child has good vision, another reason it's important for your child to see an eye doctor is for early detection of vision problems. If your child gets diagnosed with an eye condition, the earlier treatment starts, the easier can be treated and corrected. If your child has an upcoming eye exam, you may want to let them know in advance about what to expect during their optometry appointment.

An optometry appointment usually starts by taking your child's medical history, along with telling the optometrist about any medications your child is taking. Our optometrist will then test for any disorders of the eyes, such as farsightedness and nearsightedness, and check for any abnormalities of the eyes, including lazy eye or crossed eyes. We will also test your child's color perception, depth perception, and eye coordination. During the exam, your child may be asked to identify pictures, shapes, or letters at various distances. In order to examine the insides of your child's eyes, our optometrist will have to dilate their pupils. You can let your child know that going to the eye doctor is a completely painless experience and that it can even be fun.

Vision Problem Symptoms

Besides taking your child to their pediatric eye exam, it's also important for you to be aware of any types of vision problems your child might be having. Some common symptoms include:

  • Sitting too close to the television
  • Holding a book close to their face
  • One or both of their eyes turn in or out
  • They squint their eyes
  • They complain of headaches

It is also important to note that even though many schools offer vision screenings, these screenings don't test for the health of the eye and problems are often missed. This is one more reason your child needs regular pediatric eye exams.

Contact Yakima Vision Center

Whether your child’s first time at the eye doctor, or it's time to get their eyes checked, contact Yakima Vision Center at 509-965-5200 to schedule your child's eye exam today.

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