It’s important for children to have their vision checked at least once before age 6, even if there aren’t any signs of eye problems. Finding and treating eye problems early on can save a child’s sight.
Healthy eyes and vision are very important to a child’s development. Growing children constantly use their eyes, both at play and in the classroom.
What are common eye problems in children?
These common eye problems can be treated if they are found early enough:
- Lazy eye (amblyopia)
- Crossed eyes (strabismus)
Other conditions – like being nearsighted or farsighted – can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Conditions like these are called refractive errors.
Is my child at risk for vision problems?
If your family has a history of childhood vision problems, your child may be more likely to have eye problems. Talk to the doctor about eye problems in your family.
Eye exams are part of regular checkups.
The doctor will check your child’s eyes during each checkup, beginning with your child’s first well-baby visit.
Around age 3 or 4, the doctor will give your child a more complete eye exam to make sure her vision is developing normally. If there are any problems, the doctor may send your child to an eye doctor.
Follow these steps to protect your child’s vision.
Talk to your child’s doctor.
Ask the doctor or nurse if there are any problems with your child’s vision.
If the doctor recommends a visit to an eye specialist:
- Ask your child’s doctor for the name of an eye doctor who is good with kids. You can also use these tips to find an eye doctor.
- Write down any information about your child’s vision problem.
Look out for problems.
Schedule an eye exam for your child if you see signs of an eye problem, like if your child’s eyes:
- Are crossed all the time
- Turn out
- Don’t focus together
- Are red, crusted, or swollen around the eyelids
Protect your child’s eyes.
- Don’t let your child play with toys that have sharp edges or points.
- Keep sharp or pointed objects, like knives and scissors, away from your child.
- Protect your child’s eyes from the sun. Look for kids’ sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
- Keep chemicals and sprays (like cleaners and bug spray) where kids can’t reach them.
- Make sure your child wears the right eye protection for sports.
Help develop your child’s vision.
It takes skill to match what we see with what we want to do – like when we want to bounce a ball or read a book.
Here are ways to help your child develop vision skills:
- Play with your child using a chalkboard, finger paints, or different shaped blocks.
- Take your child to the playground to climb the jungle gym and walk on the balance beam.
- Play catch with your child.