When should my childs eyes be examined?
Most physicians test vision as part of a childs medical examination. They may refer a child to an ophthalmologist (a medical eye doctor) if there is any sign of an eye condition. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the first vision screening occur in the hospital as part of a newborn babys discharge examination. Visual function (including ocular alignment, etc.) also should be checked by the pediatrician or family physician during routine well-child exams (typically at two, four and six months of age). Later amblyopia and alignment screenings should take place at three years of age and then yearly after school age.
If you suspect your child suffers from decreased vision - amblyopia (poor vision in an otherwise normal appearing eye), refractive error (nearsightedness or farsightedness) or strabismus (misalignment of the eye in any direction) - or if there are hereditary factors that might predispose your child to eye disease, please make an appointment with an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. New techniques make it possible to test vision in infants and young children. If there is a family history of misaligned eyes, childhood cataracts or a serious eye disease, an ophthalmologist can begin checking your childs vision at a very early age.