Eye exams are important for adults and children for a number of reasons that go further than just making sure your vision isn’t blurry. An eye examination carried out by an optician can help to find any potential vision problems, as well as any other symptoms that may be linked to other health problems.
Serious vision problems in children are quite rare, however, eye exams for during childhood are very important. Whilst adults can usually tell if their vision is suffering, this isn’t always the case in younger children. Children may not realise if they have a vision problem, especially if it has always been a problem, so there is a risk that any vision problems may not found without a routine eye exam.
Vision or eye health problems could interfere with a child’s development, school performance, and potentially their safety if not discovered at an early stage. Optimal learning is a key part of education for young children, so the following visual skills are very important:
- Accurate eye movement
- Accurate and comfortable focusing
- Accurate and comfortable eye teaming
- Excellent visual acuity at all distances
If a child is unable to read a blackboard, or see a book properly, this could lead them to feel frustrated or to fall behind in academic performance, so vision tests and eye exams are vital.
How often should children have an eye exam and vision test?
It’s recommended that children should have their first comprehensive eye examination when they are around 6 months old. They should then have their eyes examined again at around age 3 and then at least every 2 years throughout their school years. If it is found that children need to wear glasses or require another form of vision correction, they should attend eye exams annually, or as often as is recommended by their optician.
Whilst the majority of children go through school without experiencing vision problems, some children may suffer from near-sightedness (myopia) or far-sightedness (hyperopia), which may require them to wear glasses to help them see in certain situations.
In addition to these vision problems, some children may experience issues such as:
- Astigmatism – this is a refractive error caused by irregularities in the shape of a person’s cornea. The eye isn’t able to focus the light equally, resulting in blurred or distorted vision. This usually occurs with near-sightedness or far-sightedness.
- Lazy eye – Also known as amblyopia, this means that vision in one or both eyes is decreased without any detectable damage to the eye. A lazy eye may not always be correctable by glasses and may require a temporary eye patch to help strengthen the weaker eye.
- Convergence insufficiency – this is the inability to maintain eye alignment when looking at near objects. Symptoms can include eye discomfort and, in some cases, double vision when reading.
- Misalignment – The misalignment of the eyes (strabismus) can have a few different causes, for example, problems with muscle control in the affected eye/s. This is a common cause of lazy eye.
Opticians also check for problems with focus and depth perception, colour blindness and general eye health problems as part of a full examination.
To arrange an eye examination for your child, contact Dominic Tunnell Opticians by calling 01905 950222, get in touch online, or visit us at 6 Mealcheapen Street, Worcester, WR1 2DH.