Pediatric Eye Health
“When should my child have his or her eyes checked?” – Your child’s primary care provider will perform different screening tests on the eyes depending on what developmental stage a child is in. If we are concerned about something we will then refer you for a more thorough eye exam by a specialist such as a pediatric ophthalmologist:
- A Healthcare provider should examine the eye and perform a red reflex test using a special light called an otoscope – this a basic indicator of a normal eye.
- Infants born prematurely should have a more specialized exam performed by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
- Between the age of 6 months and the first birthday a healthcare provider should perform another basic eye screening including an assessment of the alignment of the eyes.
- Between the ages of 3 and 4 years the alignment of the eyes should be assessed and a vision screening should be performed once the child can cooperate and follow directions.
- Once children are in school, around age 5 or 6, they should have a vision screening every year. This is often performed at school as well as the yearly well child visit with your child’s healthcare provider.
“What are some signs that my child is having a problem with their eyes?” – The eyes are very important to how children learn and process information in their everyday life, it is critical that we keep kids’ eyes healthy. Here are a few common signs that a child should see a healthcare provider about their eyes:
- Eyes that are not aligned – they appear to cross or wander
- There is a white or grey color to the pupil (middle part of the eye) – this often shows up in pictures taken of the child using a flash
- Eyes that flutter from side to side or up and down
- Your child complains of eye pain, itchiness or discomfort
- There is pus, crust or redness in either eye
- The eyelids are drooping
- Your child is overly sensitive to light
Some Resources for Parents about Child Eye Health: