for children of all ages

Pediatric Eye Exams

for children of all ages

Pediatric Eye Exams

Because many eye problems start at an early age, regular pediatric eye exams are essential to detecting issues early and preserving long-term vision. At Giles Eye Care in Portland, ME, we provide comprehensive eye care for the whole family, including babies and children. Our optometrist has the expertise necessary to diagnose and treat eye health and vision problems in children of all ages.

We find working with children is very rewarding. There’s nothing better than helping a child see clearly and realize there’s a whole new world out there.

When does your child need to visit the eye doctor?

Your child should have their first eye exam at 6 months, followed by a second exam at three years old and again before they enter kindergarten. For school-aged children, you should schedule an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be seen annually or as recommended by their eye doctor.

The tests your eye doctor uses will depend on your child’s age, but an exam generally includes a case history, vision testing, determination of whether eyeglasses are needed, testing eye alignment, an eye health evaluation, and prescribing eyeglasses if necessary.

Why are eye exams important for children?

It’s important for children to have regular eye exams, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early. Vision is essential to learning. Eighty percent of all learning is visual, which means children with vision problems have a huge disadvantage. Pediatric eye exams ensure children have the following visual skills necessary for effective reading and writing:

  • Excellent vision for near, up-close work and distance.
  • Comfortable and correct “eye teaming”, which means the eyes work well together and can focus on the same place in space.
  • The ability to adjust focus to see clearly at different distances.
  • Accurate eye movement skills, such as the ability to read a line of text.

What are the signs of vision problems in children?

Vision problems in children can be the hardest to detect. Children don’t always know they have a vision problem and may think everyone sees the way they do. The good news is many vision problems and eye issues can be identified during a comprehensive pediatric eye exam with a qualified optometrist. If left untreated, these problems can affect a child’s vision permanently and lead to developmental delays and learning issues. Regular pediatric eye exams will help ensure early detection and treatment of issues to avoid lifelong visual impairment.

Signs your child should see a pediatric optometrist:

  • Frequent blinking, squinting, or irregular eye movements
  • Frequently turning or tilting their head
  • Covering or closing one eye to see better
  • Poor hand-eye coordination or motor skills
  • Rubbing their eyes frequently
  • Frequent headaches
  • Leaning in too close to see something or read
  • Learning difficulties and poor handwriting

If your child displays any of these behaviors, they may have a vision or eye health problem and should see an eye doctor immediately. However, it’s important to remember that your child may exhibit no symptoms and still have an eye issue. Eye diseases can affect people of all ages, even children. Scheduling regular eye exams will enable early detection and prompt treatment of any issues before they cause serious damage. Contact us today to schedule your child’s eye exam.