The doctors at Relf EyeCare provide family eye care for infants to the elderly. Whether you’re looking for an eye doctor for just yourself, for your growing family, or to help guide you as you care for your parents: Relf EyeCare will provide the expertise needed to help your family see well for a lifetime.
Does my child need an eye exam and how often?
Pediatricians and Family Medicine doctors can conduct basic eye screenings in younger children, with their first eye exam occurring as young as six months of age. Provided their eyes are healthy, again at age 3, and before starting kindergarten. Most children should undergo a comprehensive eye exam before starting school, typically around age 5. Once children meet school age, an eye exam is needed usually every 1-2 years. It’s crucial to remember that certain conditions may necessitate earlier evaluation by an eye care specialist.
Most children are far-sighted and do not require glasses, but other factors can cause a visit to the eye doctor. If parents notice an eye that turns inward or outward, your child is covering one eye to see or even turning their head to watch TV, contact your eye doctor for an appointment.
Eye Exams for Kids
Children’s exams can have different testing than adult exams, particularly if it’s their first one. We will evaluate your child’s eyes for:
- Visual acuity
- Color vision
- Depth perception
- Eye pressure
- Lazy Eye
- Overall Health
First, we start with checking their vision, or visual acuity. It is not a problem if they do not know their letters or numbers yet. We can use pictures or cards to help in determining vision.
Next, we test color vision as well as depth perception. Depth perception enables us to see how their eyes are working together. We will also measure how well their eyes move back and forth and up and down, both far away and up close. This tells us if their eyes get tired of doing any visual tasks, such as seeing the smart board at school or reading their homework.
Just as we check the eye pressure in adults, we will check it in children. We have a special instrument for checking this that does not require a “puff” of air. It is very fast, and children tolerate it well.
We do require eye drops at children’s visits, however, we can usually instill them in both eyes at the same time. This drop is very important in determining your child’s actual prescription. It will make their vision blurry and pupils large, but lasts longer than the drops we give to adults. This drop works more to stop their focusing system, so in checking their glasses prescription, we achieve more accurate results. This does not require them to answer “which is better, 1 or 2?”, which is why we can check vision in infants.
Finally, we evaluate the health of the eye. This only requires “flashlights” or lights that are shined into their eyes. Many instruments allow for children’s different cooperation or physical abilities to be evaluated.
Signs of Eye Problems in Children?
Parents and guardians can play a proactive role in identifying potential eye problems in children. Look for signs such as frequent eye rubbing, squinting, or complaints of headaches, as these could indicate vision issues. Moreover, routine eye check-ups for children are essential to detect and address issues like amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed eyes) early, ensuring that children have the best possible start to their visual development.
Contact Lenses, Kids, and Teens
We often get questions about children and contact lenses. Questions like:
- What age can a child have contacts?
- What is the right contact for a child to use?
- Should kids wear contact lenses?
- Are contacts dangerous to growing eyes?
Children can generally wear contacts when their parents feel they are responsible enough to use them. The earliest we prescribe contacts for a child is age 12, however, there are exceptions. Contacts can be a great option for children involved in sports or other extracurricular activities.
Daily disposable lenses are a good starting lens for first-time wearers. A new clean lens is inserted each day they are worn and thrown away each night. Other options include a 2-week replacement and monthly replacement. Your doctor will help decide which option will work best for your child.
Contact lenses are a safe option for children with the correct instruction and handling. We provide classes to help in inserting and removing the lenses, as well as disinfecting and storage.