Pediatric Eye Exams

Pediatric Eye Exams: Nurturing Clear Vision for a Bright Future

Importance of Pediatric Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are crucial for children, as their eyes undergo significant changes in a short period. The development of muscles and tissues in the eyes can impact a child’s eyesight, which is closely tied to their success in various aspects of life, especially academics. The demands of school activities, reading, writing, computer use, and sports all rely on strong vision. A child with visual challenges may experience fatigue, difficulty concentrating, academic struggles, and limitations in recreational activities, affecting overall quality of life.

When to Perform a Pediatric Eye Exam

According to the recommendations of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus:

  • Initial screening should be conducted between 6 and 12 months of age.
  • Routine eye health and vision screenings should continue throughout childhood, every two years until the age of 18 unless otherwise recommended.


  • A red reflex test is performed to assess the normality of the eyes.
  • Premature or high-risk infants, those showing signs of abnormalities, or with a family history of serious vision disorders should undergo a comprehensive exam.

Infants (6 months to 1 year)

  • Pupil response tests
  • Fixate and follow test
  • Preferential looking test to assess vision capabilities

Preschoolers (3 to 3½ years)

  • Assessment of visual acuity and eye alignment
  • Early diagnosis and treatment of misaligned eyes (strabismus), “lazy eye” (amblyopia), and refractive errors (astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia)

School Age

  • Regular screenings for visual acuity and alignment
  • Addressing common refractive errors like nearsightedness (myopia) with eyeglasses

Signs of Vision Problems in Children

Parents should be aware of signs indicating potential vision problems:

  • Squinting or holding reading materials very close
  • Complaints about blurry vision
  • Short attention span
  • Rapid loss of interest in activities requiring prolonged visual focus
  • Losing place while reading
  • Avoiding activities that demand close focusing
  • Turning the head to the side when looking at something

Regular eye screenings by an ophthalmologist or a trained professional are essential for early detection and treatment of vision issues, ensuring a child’s optimal performance in and out of school.