Children's Eye Health And Safety Month: The Recommended Schedule Of Children's Eye Exams

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Children's Eye Health And Safety Month: The Recommended Schedule Of Children's Eye Exams

August is Children’s Eye Health And Safety Month! This month is a good reminder to ensure your child is receiving the appropriate eye care. As a parent, you may feel like you have to know everything about what your child needs. Your child’s health is incredibly important, but there are so many things to think about all the time that you can’t be expected to know them all yourself. To help you learn about when it is appropriate to take your child for their eye exams, we have created a timeline to help you out. This timeline highlights when your child should have eye exams, why it is important for them to receive eye exams at these ages, what an optometrist is looking for during eye exams, and what you can expect.

When To Take Your Child For Eye Exams

6 Months Old
Your child should receive their first eye exam between 6 and 9 months old. While this may seem young, it is very important, as many eye conditions can develop before birth and within the first several months after birth. Eye conditions such as retinoblastoma, pediatric congenital glaucoma, congenital cataracts, and more can all develop within the first several months of life. Screening for these conditions early will help to prevent their progression and can save your child’s eye health and vision. A pediatric eye exam at this age also checks that the eyes are developing correctly. When you take your child for an eye exam when they are between 6 and 9 months old, the eye exams will largely consist of the optometrist viewing your child’s eyes to search for any irregularities. Your pediatric optometrist may ask you questions about family health and eye health history as well as questions about your child, including their birth weight, any complications during the pregnancy or delivery, and more.

3 Years Old
By the time your child is preschool-aged, they will be acquiring skills that require proper vision. At this point, your child should have good visual acuity, the ability to distinguish colours, proper eye tracking, and good eye convergence. Your pediatric optometrist will test for all of these as well as common childhood eye conditions such as lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), colourblindness, nystagmus, and more. Since your child will not be able to identify letters and numbers, the pediatric optometrist will use other visual tests that use simple symbols. They will also physically examine the eyes of your child to check for the development of any eye diseases or conditions. Parents are encouraged to be in the room during these eye exams but are urged to not answer questions on behalf of your child, even if they are struggling to effectively communicate. The optometrist is looking for your child’s best answer without prompting and they have been specially trained to work with children, so don’t worry about whether your child’s answers are correct or not.

5 Years Old
An eye exam at 5 years old is incredibly important, as your child will be starting school around this age. Having an eye exam at this age will help ensure that your child is not hindered by a vision impairment in school. Learning is thought to be 80% visual, and children with undiagnosed visual impairments can fall behind in school. Screening for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism before your child goes to school can help make sure they are able to properly learn in class. By this age, your child may be able to sit for their eye exams by themself, but parents are welcome in the eye exam room if it makes the child comfortable.

6 And Over
Between the ages of 6 and 18, your child should receive regular annual eye exams. Your child’s eyes will be growing and changing a lot during this period, as they go through different stages of growth spurts and hormonal changes. Regular eye exams will ensure that their prescription stays up to date and that any development of eye conditions is caught early and treated before it can cause lasting damage.

To learn more about the tests that will be used during a pediatric eye exam, read 5 Main Tests Performed During A Children’s Eye Exam. For more information about children’s eye exams in general, read Children’s Eye Exams: What You Need To Know.

Children’s Eye Exams In Calgary

If you are ready to schedule eye exams for your children, contact the trusted pediatric optometrists at Sunridge Eye Clinic in NE Calgary. Our kind and experienced staff will help make your child feel welcomed and calm, no matter their age. At Sunridge Eye Clinic, we are committed to family optometry that is accessible and affordable while remaining top-quality. We work with all of our patients to ensure that you leave our optometry clinic with a better understanding of the eye health of your children. To schedule a eye exams for children in Calgary, contact Sunridge Eye Clinic at 1-403-280-7518 or fill out the online contact form.

FAQ

Q: How much do children’s eye exams cost?
A: Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan covers all comprehensive annual eye exams for children aged 0-18 and for adults aged 65+. The AHCIP also provides coverage for all emergency visits to the eye doctor.

Q: What if I can’t afford eyeglasses for my children?
A: To help make eye care affordable for all, Sunridge Eye Clinic is a part of the EYE SEE… EYE LEARN (ESEL) program. If your kindergarten-aged child has been seen by a doctor of optometry and requires eyeglasses, ESEL provides a free pair. Simply tell your eye doctor you would like to participate in the ESEL program; no applications are necessary.

Q: How long do children’s eye exams take?
A: Children’s eye exams typically lasts for 30 minutes to an hour depending on the tests your optometrist performs on your child.


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