Pediatric Eye and Vision Care FAQ
By Dr. Rita Bhakta
When should my child have an eye exam?
An eye exam is indicated when a parent or caregiver has any concerns about the child’s vision or eye health. The American Optometric Association recommends a child’s first eye exam occur at age six months to one year. Subsequent exams should occur at age 3 years and then before first grade. Eye exams for children are advised annually or as recommended.
How is a young child’s eye exam different from an adult’s eye exam?
In a child who is younger than 8 years old, we rely on our objective measurements more than the child’s responses. A young child’s exam usually requires the use of dilation eyedrops to relax the focusing system. This allows the doctor to obtain the most accurate assessment of whether the child needs eyeglasses, as well as examine the internal structures of the eye.
What is the Infant See program?
The Infant See program is a no-cost eye examination available to infants ages six months to one year of age. It is a public health program sponsored by the American Optometric Association and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Dr. Bhakta is an Infant See provider.
What happens in an Infant See exam?
The parents will complete a brief history form about their child. In the first part of the exam, we essentially play! We will use toys and lights to capture the child’s attention and evaluate his/her vision and eye movements. The dilation drops are then instilled and we wait 20-30 minutes for the child’s pupils to dilate. Finally, Dr. Bhakta will use instruments to look at the back of the eye to determine that there is no significant need for glasses and that the eyes are healthy.
What is amblyopia?
Amblyopia is a condition in which the eye or eyes do not develop normal vision due to some factor, such as an eye turn or high eyeglass prescription. Amblyopia is treated with full time use of eyeglasses and sometimes patching therapy.
At what age can children wear contact lenses?
Contact lens fitting is considered when a child expresses an interest in contact lens wear. If the child is motivated, he/she can be very successful with contact lens wear. A child who is interested in contact lens wear should demonstrate good hygiene and be responsible. Parents, of course, are the best judges of these qualities.