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When Does My Child Need an Eye Exam?

When Does My Child Need an Eye Exam?

Are you wondering when your child needs their first basic eye exam? Believe it or not, it’s long before your child even starts school. The first exam should generally take place between 6 and 12 months of age to check for problems and to establish a baseline of your child’s vision.

Making the decision to get eye exams for your child before they start school is an important part of their overall health care. You want to make sure they can get the best help possible if they need it. 

Here, Dr. Randa Garrana of Advanced Lasik explains more about the importance of eye exams for children, and what they can reveal about your child’s vision and ocular health.

Why should my child see an eye doctor?

It might seem like it’s unnecessary to get your baby’s eyes examined since your child’s pediatrician already does it at every visit. While it’s true that their eyes will get a general screening, it’s not always very in-depth. 


A professional exam performed by an ophthalmologist is simply more focused on detecting possible problems in your baby’s eyesight, because an eye doctor is a specialist in vision and ocular health. 

A pediatrician is more of a generalist, focusing on your baby’s whole body to make sure they’re well and developing normally. A pediatrician performs a basic eye and vision evaluation, while an ophthalmologist takes a comprehensive look at your child’s eyes.

What is a comprehensive eye exam?

A comprehensive eye exam is more involved than just a screening. Although Dr. Garrana always treats your baby gently, your child’s eyes will need to be dilated. You may have already had this done yourself. 

Drops are placed into your child’s eyes. They’re a bit uncomfortable, but not painful. They allow Dr. Garrana to examine the eye with a magnified lighted instrument (ophthalmoscope) to check general eye health and look for any signs of disease, such as glaucoma or cataracts. 

It also enables her to detect possible problems such as infection, structural issues, or malformed eyelids. 

Times when your child might need an eye exam

Sometimes, babies are born with certain risk factors that make them more likely to need the extra attention of a comprehensive exam. These conditions include:

These are not the only conditions that could require earlier eye exams, but they’re the most common. Ask your pediatrician if your child has any eye conditions that could require an eye exam with a specialist.

If your child needs an eye exam because they have any indicating risk factors — including a parent or sibling who has vision problems — it’s important to remember that knowledge is power. 

Remember, the sooner you know about an eye or vision problem, the sooner you can get your child the help they need. Contact Dr. Garrana at Advanced Lasik by phone today, or request an appointment online any time. We have one East Coast office in Manhattan, New York City, and two West Coast offices in Pasadena and Long Beach, California.

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