It is also important for children to have their eyes checked as eye exams can play an important role in normal development. According to the American Optometric Association, all children should have their eyes checked at 6 months of age, 3 years old, and again at the start of school. Children without vision problems or risk factors for eye problems should then continue to have their eyes examined at least every two years throughout school. Those children with existing problems or risk factors should be seen more frequently.
*Your child’s vision, well-being, and happiness are very important to us. At Midwest Vision Care, LLC, we do not believe in a "one size fits vision care”. Instead, we view each child as an individual, and we work hard to accommodate each of his/her needs. We enjoy working with children and are very passionate about providing them with the care they deserve.*
The first step toward a healthy vision for your child is a comprehensive eye exam performed by an experienced eye doctor. An exam is needed even if he/she successfully passed the standard eye chart exam. There are several common, yet serious, disorders which are not detected by the eye chart screening.
The American Optometric Association recommends children receive a comprehensive vision exam by an eye doctor:
At the age of 6 months
Find out about the InfantSEE program at www.infantsee.org
At three years old
At five years old
The summer prior to entering Kindergarten
Every year during grades K-12
A child who is at risk for visual problems may need more frequent examinations as recommended by the child’s eye doctor.
An evaluation with an optometrist who specializes in developmental/behavioral vision care is a must for children or adults who experience or have experienced any of the following:
Learning or reading problems, ADD/ADHD, or dyslexia
Developmental delays, autism, or cerebral palsy
Computer eye strain
Head trauma or stroke
Inconsistent or poor sports performance
Strabismus (eye turn) and/or amblyopia (lazy eye)
Many parents are surprised to learn that vision screenings at school or by a pediatrician are not comprehensive eye exams. These vision screenings may only detect nearsightedness or poor distance vision. In order for a child to reach his/her full potential at school, near vision, depth perception, and eye-tracking are extremely important. Conditions involving these mechanisms often go undetected during a vision screening.
The only way to detect many of the disorders that interfere with your child’s learning, some of which are sight-threatening, is a comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor.
Some common problems that cannot be detected by the eye chart screening include:
Decreased depth perception
Decreased visual perception and visual processing
Eye-hand coordination deficiencies
Some less common, but serious conditions that are also not detected by an eye chart screening include:
The visual system of a newborn baby takes time to develop. It actually takes several months for your child’s vision to develop fully. Knowing the expected milestones of your baby’s vision during the first year of life can ensure your child is seeing properly.
Your baby’s vision development begins before birth. Follow the instructions of your OB/GYN regarding proper nutrition and rest during your pregnancy.
At this time, your baby sees only in shades of gray. The nerve cells in the eyes and brain that control vision are not fully developed. Also, your baby does not have the ability to change focus between near and far objects, so do not be concerned if he/she does not seem to be focusing on your face. It all takes time.
During the first few weeks of life, color vision develops.
Babies’ eyes are not as sensitive to visible light as adults’ eyes, but they need UV protection. Keep your baby’s eye shaded with a cap or some other means.
Months 2 and 3
Your baby’s vision is improving, and their eyes are beginning to move as a team. At this point, they should be following moving objects and starting to reach for things they see.
They are also learning how to shift their gaze from one object to another without moving their heads.
Months 4 to 6
Significant changes have taken place in the vision centers of the brain by 6 months of age. Your baby should be seeing more distinctly, moving their eyes faster and more accurately, and they should have a better ability to follow moving objects with their eyes.
Visual acuity has improved from 20/400 at birth to 20/25 at 6 months and color vision should be fully developed.
At this age, children also develop better eye-hand coordination.
Months 7 to 12
babies at this age are now mobile! They are also judging distances and become more skilled at locating, grasping, and throwing objects.