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When Should Your Child Start Seeing an Optometrist?

When Should Your Child Start Seeing an Optometrist?

Your eyes are an important part of how you take in the world around you. These two organs take in light and visual information and transmit it to your brain, allowing you to see 200 degrees in all directions. Your eyes can perceive images, movement, and depth, which enable you to perceive the world in millions of different colors, tones, and shades.

A variety of issues can affect your ability to see properly and these problems can start when you’re a child. If you are a parent in the Pelham Gardens area of The Bronx, New York, our team of specialists at Bronx Eye Associates can conduct a pediatric eye exam to check for any vision changes or problems. 

But, how old do you need to be before you start seeing an optometrist? To get the answers we need, let’s look at what an optometrist does, why eye exams are important for children, and how soon they should start getting them.

Understanding what an optometrist does

When it comes to eye care there are several different specialists responsible for handling aspects of diagnosis and treatment. An optometrist manages sight testing, diagnoses vision changes, and treats changes in vision over time. This includes eye exams, vision tests, prescribing corrective lenses, looking for vision abnormalities, and offering medications.

An ophthalmologist can do many of the same things, but also performs eye surgeries. In many cases, they are also involved in research into causes and cures for eye diseases and disorders. An optician specializes in designing and fitting frames and lenses for glasses and other corrective devices.

The importance of eye exams for children

Eye problems can start when children are very young, and in many cases, vision problems may not be obvious. Eye problems can be traced to family history and a host of other factors. Catching specific conditions like a lazy eye (amblyopia) or crossed eyes (strabismus) early can prevent these from being long-term problems.

If you observe your child and think they may have problems seeing, it can be cause for concern. But seeing an optometrist regularly for eye exams and other tests is the best way to determine if something is wrong and whether it requires treatment.

How early exams should start

A child’s eyes are still developing between being an infant and a toddler. During this time, they build hand-eye coordination in a lot of ways, including through stacking building blocks, playing with toys, rolling a ball, using a coloring book, or drawing. How they interact with the world can say a lot about how they see things. 

Limited eye exams are often performed shortly after children are born and in the first few years of life, to detect things like light reflex abnormalities of the pupil, ocular alignment, and any external issues. Your child should have a comprehensive eye exam by their first year. If there are no problems, another exam should be repeated before kindergarten.

How well your child sees when they’re very young can help determine how well they develop in classes, in daily activities, and social interactions with other children. Stay ahead of vision problems by getting your child’s eyes checked and make an appointment with the medical team at Bronx Eye Associates today.

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