Here at Art of Optiks, we offer not only comprehensive eye exams but also pediatric eye exams. Our award-winning doctors are experienced in pediatric eye care. We’ve focused on creating a safe and comfortable environment for your child, so they look forward to visiting the eye doctor. Like a comprehensive eye exam, there are many components to a pediatric eye exam, and we’ve provided a brief overview of what you can expect at your child’s first appointment.
Why Are Pediatric Eye Exams Important?
Regular eye exams are necessary for everyone, no matter your age. Your child should start seeing an eye doctor as an infant and continue to do so as they mature. Pediatric eye exams help track your child’s visual health and abilities, so any issues can be caught early on and treated appropriately. While vision plays a large role in our everyday routines, it’s critical for your child’s learning. If a vision deficiency isn’t caught early on, your child’s learning abilities can be drastically impacted.
How to Prepare Your Child
Visiting an eye doctor for the first time can be intimidating, and your child may be hesitant or nervous. You must prepare your child for the eye exam by explaining that it will be a fun experience. Many pediatric eye doctors incorporate game-like testing methods to help make a child feel comfortable and remain engaged for the duration of the exam. It’s recommended to schedule your child’s eye exam during a time that they’re usually alert and in good spirits. Additionally, it’s helpful for parents to explain what the appointment will entail and reassure your child that you’ll be by their side every step of the way for added comfort and security.
What to Bring
At your child’s first pediatric eye exam, the eye doctor will want to know about any medical or surgical problems in the past and present, along with any allergies. It’s recommended to bring any eyeglasses or contact lenses that your child has previously been prescribed. Your child’s primary care doctor and any other physician’s contact information should be brought to the appointment. If your child’s eye doctor discovers or suspects any underlying health conditions, the provided contact information will make it simple for them to share any critical findings. Below are a few examples of what you can expect to bring to your child’s eye exam:
- Insurance information
- Past eye exam records
- List of medications and supplements
It’s essential to check with your child’s eye clinic before the date of their appointment to see what you are expected to bring. While many eye clinics require the same information, specific requests may vary depending on your area.
Your Child’s Exam
While exam regimens can differ between eye doctors, there are a few basic assessments your child’s eye doctor is likely to complete. Learn more about what you and your child can expect during their first pediatric eye exam.
- Ocular history. You’ll be asked to provide a brief overview of your child’s ocular history. Your child’s eye doctor will inquire about anything unusual you may have noticed and review your family’s health history to identify any hereditary eye conditions that may be of concern.
- Vision assessment. Your child’s eye doctor will conduct a vision assessment, but instead of using a standard eye chart, special charts with pictures or toys will be incorporated. These materials help keep your child’s attention for the duration of the exam and are more convenient since younger children aren’t yet able to read.
- External inspection. The exterior areas of your child’s eyes, like eyelids, cornea, tear ducts, and more, need to be examined. The eye doctor will commonly use a penlight to see clearly while checking for excessive tears, drainage, infection, and blockages.
- Ocular motility assessment. Verifying that your child’s eyes move correctly is essential as this tells the eye doctor whether your child’s eyes are aligned correctly, working together as a team, and rules out amblyopia.
- Pupil examination. Your child’s pupils will also be checked to verify that they are healthy. Healthy pupils are round, and each should respond similarly to light, widening when dim and shrinking when bright.
- Red-reflex examination. Did you know it’s a sign of healthy eyes when someone’s eyes show up red in a photo? If your child’s eyes appear white or lack rather than red with a flash of light, it could be a sign of pediatric cataracts or a tumor.
There are many different treatment options your child’s eye doctor may recommend depending on what is discovered during the pediatric eye exam. Below are the most common issues found in children and an overview of possible treatment options.
- Refractive errors. It’s not unusual for your child to have a refractive error, and some of the most popular in children are nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. If your child’s eye doctor discovers a refractive error during the pediatric eye exam, it’s likely your child will be required to wear eyeglasses or contacts.
- Amblyopia. You’ve likely heard of a “lazy eye,” which is amblyopia. Amblyopia can occur if there is a refractive error that needs to be corrected or improper eye alignment. If your child is diagnosed with amblyopia, the eye doctor will take proper steps to strengthen the weaker eye.
- Strabismus. Your child may be experiencing eye alignment problems or strabismus. If the eye doctor diagnoses your child with strabismus, there are many treatment methods available to alleviate this condition, like vision therapy, corrective eyewear, orthoptic exercises, prisms, and more.
- Other. Injuries, infections, allergies, and more can affect your child’s eyes. At times, it can be difficult for you to notice signs of these conditions – especially if there aren’t many symptoms. During your child’s eye exam, the eye doctor will check for any other issues that may be impacting your child’s vision. If any are discovered, a proper treatment plan will be provided.
Schedule a Pediatric Eye Exam Today
Your child’s vision and eye health matter, which is why scheduling regular pediatric eye exams is vital. Whether you’ve suspected your child is having trouble with their vision or you’re bringing them in for a routine check-up, your child’s vision contributes significantly to their learning. Regular eye exams will allow your child’s eye doctor to catch any issues early on, so proper care and treatment are given before the problem progresses. If you’re ready to bring your child to an experienced eye doctor, we encourage you to give Art of Optiks a call today to schedule an appointment.