When to bring your child to see an eye doctor?
- When you look at your child, you notice that one eye is not aligned.
- Your child has trouble focusing or squints a lot.
- Your child holds books too close when reading.
- Your child turns or tilts their head when they want to look at something.
- Your child covers an eye when stepping into sunlight.
- One of your child’s eyes is whiter and brighter than the other eye in a picture
- Your child moves closer to the blackboard or TV to see better.
Your child may not complain about not seeing correctly because they are unaware there is a problem. Only you, as a parent, can make sure that any visual problem your child may have is caught early on.
What happens during the eye examination?
The eye doctor will first review your child’s history and will ask about any health issues or family history of health conditions. Remember to bring to your appointment any documents about your child’s health.
Your child will then have a series of tests to check their vision. None of them are painful or dangerous. They may include the following tests.
Visual acuity is how clearly your child can see objects of a certain distance. Your child will cover one eye and read the letters or pictures projected on a wall or on a chart. They will then cover the other eye and do the same.
Different tests are used to check an infant or younger child’s visual acuity.
3D vision and strabiusmus/squint
The eye doctor makes sure that, up close and at a distance, the eyes are aligned and there is no eye turn or strabismus/squint. 3D vision will also be tested in older children.
Assessing prescription lenses and focusing ability
Retinoscopy is a light test to see if your child needs corrective glasses (or prescription lenses).
For a more accurate test, two to three drops of an eye-drop would be used to dilate the pupil. Putting the drops in does not hurt and their effect will wear off in a few hours. Dilation of the pupils often causes near vision to be blurred and child may complain of sensitivity to light. It may take six to eight hours to recover the focusing ability. Pupils can stay dilated for up to 24 hours.
General eye health and Dilated fundus examination
The eye doctor looks at the cornea, lens and blood vessels to make sure that each part of your child’s eye is healthy. Dilating the pupils also allows for a complete view of the retina and optic nerve and for the doctor to check for any abnormalities inside the eye.
After the treatment
How to choose glasses for your child
Ask your optician to help you find glasses that will fit your child properly. Involve your child in the process if they are old enough to understand. Remember, they are your child’s glasses not yours. If your child does not like the glasses, they are not going to wear them. Instead your child may hide or break the glasses or do whatever they can to not wear them.