As adults, we know it’s crucial to schedule routine eye exams and keep tabs on our vision, but when should eye care start? What many parents don’t know is that their pediatric child care to-do list should include a kindergarten eye exam.
A Lot Can Change From Infancy to Early Childhood
Though the American Optometric Association recommends setting up children's initial comprehensive vision assessment when they are about six months old, vision changes drastically between infancy and school age. While good vision always plays a role in typical child development, kids between the ages of 2 and 5 are fine-tuning their eyesight as they work on everything from eye-hand-body coordination to learning their shapes and colors. Rechecking vision before the first day of school ensures your little one is primed to learn.
Not All Eye Problems Are Instantly Noticeable
While you might be able to spot a lazy eye or strabismus (otherwise known as “crossed eyes”), other issues require an eye exam to diagnose. Your ophthalmologist or optometrist will know what structural anomalies to look for, but you can help out by reporting any of the following signs of a vision problem:
- Excessive squinting, blinking or eye rubbing
- Head tilting when looking at something
- Light sensitivity
- Eye-hand-body coordination that’s not up to expectations
- Lack of eye contact
- Poor ability to eye track
Also, let the doctor know if your child was premature and if you have any family history of eye disease, refractive errors, amblyopia or strabismus.
It May Be Required
To help school kids get off to a good start, many states require a kindergarten eye exam as part of their admission requirements. Check with your local school system to see what guidelines are in place.
Research shows that the number of preschoolers with vision problems is rising, but committing to routine eye care could help your kids avoid serious vision issues and keep their learning on schedule. To book your child’s eye appointment, call the Illinois Eye Center today at (309) 243-2400.