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When Does My Child Need an Eye Exam?

When Does My Child Need an Eye Exam?

Western North Carolina is a great place to raise children. Families have access to so much more here than in many other places. Some of what sets us apart include:

  • Some of the best doctors, hospitals, and healthcare you can find in a city our size. 
  • Excellent public and private education at every level, including college. 
  • Unique museums and historical sites to explore. 
  • Multiple parks with accessible playgrounds, walking and biking paths, and picnic areas with mountain or river views. 
  • Access to the Blue Ridge Parkway that winds around some of the tallest mountains east of the Mississippi River. 
  • Thousands of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails for families to enjoy. 
  • Rivers and creeks that beg to be paddled down in a raft, kayak, or tube. 
  • Some of the best trout fishing waters in the country. 

With so much for children to see, many parents wonder when and how often they should schedule an exam.

In this article, we will help answer that question. 

What Is Involved in an Eye Exam?

At your child's eye exam, here is what you can expect from your optometrist:

  • Your optometrist will perform a series of tests. 
  • Some tests performed will be to determine their vision. 
  • Other tests will be used to check for potential eye diseases. 
  • If your child’s doctor finds concerns that warrant additional investigation, they may schedule a follow-up diagnostic exam. 
  • Your optometrist may prescribe glasses or contacts.

In addition to testing your child's vision and eye health, your optometrist should provide advice on how to maintain your child's vision and eye health, such as:

  • The types of food and nutrition that stimulate eye health
  • When and how to wear eye protection
  • Concerns for which to watch as children age
  • Signs of eye diseases or vision issues

Eye exams do not have to be scary for children. Make sure you schedule their eye exam with optometrists who have experience with pediatric patients, like the team at Asheville Vision and Wellness. 

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

In addition to revealing potential vision concerns, eye exams will identify potential problems and diseases such as:

  • Strabismus: This condition causes your child’s eyes to point in different directions. It is commonly referred to as being “cross-eyed.” You may not immediately notice your child is experiencing this, but your child’s optometrist will likely be able to identify by several signs.
  • Amblyopia: This condition is otherwise known as “lazy eye.” The early it is diagnosed, the better it can be treated, lowering the chances of lifelong effects. 
  • Myopia: This condition is otherwise known as “nearsightedness.” If your child is experiencing myopia, it means they can clearly see things that are close but will struggle to see things far away. Signs of nearsightedness include squinting and frequent headaches. It is important to be aware that nearsightedness runs in families. 
  • Ptosis: This condition causes your child to have a drooping eyelid that blocks their vision and causes the eye to develop abnormally. 

While parents may not have the expertise to identify these conditions, your optometrist will be able to look for these and other potential eye issues. 

How Early Should I Schedule an Exam?

Many signs of vision problems and eye health conditions show up quite early in a child’s development. Upwards of one in 20 preschoolers are born with an eye problem that can ultimately cause permanent issues if not properly treated early. 

Your child’s eyes should be examined when they are newborns. By the time they begin preschool or reach age three, you should begin researching optometrists and scheduling an exam. 

What if We're Behind on Our Eye Exams?

Life is busy. Parenting is always challenging. You are always thinking about the necessities like making sure your kids are eating healthy, sleeping well, and whatever else they need. Additionally, you are enrolling them in school, helping with homework and studying, and shuttling them from one activity to the next. Then, there was a global pandemic that changed everything about our day-to-day lives. If you are behind on scheduling an eye exam, you are not alone, and it is understandable. 

There is no time like the present. The sooner you get your child’s eye exam schedule, the sooner we can begin making sure their eyes are as healthy as possible. 

Asheville Vision and Wellness has been western North Carolina’s trusted optometrist for thirty years. We have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of parents and great pediatric patients over the years. Contact us for more information and to schedule your child’s eye exam today.