When should I bring my child for their first eye exam?
Mark it on your calendar!
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that you have your baby’s eyes examined by an optometrist when they are between six and nine months of age.No… they won’t have to read the eye chart! Even though your baby can’t tell you if they’re having trouble seeing, your optometrist is able to provide an accurate and complete eye examination. Baby’s eyes will be tested for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism; eye movement ability; as well as other eye health problems, all in a way that will put you both at ease.
There are a few ways to make this first visit most enjoyable:
- Workaround your baby’s fussy times. You know your baby best; schedule your appointment at a time when the baby is generally relaxed and happy.
- Try and get any required paperwork sent to you before the appointment so that it can be filled out at home and brought in on the day of the exam.
- Bring along a familiar toy to calm your baby if he or she starts getting fussy.
Active play and normal toddler games help strengthen your child’s vision as eye-hand coordination and depth perception continues to develop. Your child is now developing the vision skills necessary to use both eyes together, to judge distances and manipulate their surroundings with greater accuracy. Learning to see efficiently and effectively requires full coordination between your child’s two eyes.
If there are no issues after your Baby well check, your child’s next eye exam should be at 3 years old. Earlier if there are any concerns. Your child is covered every year for a full eye exam through OHIP.
During the past few years, your child’s eyes have gained all the necessary vision skills needed to be ready for reading!
Preschool children should have an eye exam before school. With the results of the previous eye exam, your optometrist can assess how well your child’s vision is continuing to develop. At this stage, common eye muscle problems such as crossed-eyes and lazy eye are carefully assessed. This is an important appointment because it assures you that your child’s eyes are ready for their next big challenge – school.
At this time your Optometrist will let you know when your child’s next eye exam should be. Normally children are seen every 1-2 years.