It's important to take your eye health seriously, and that means knowing when to start seeing an ophthalmologist. It's recommended that you have a complete eye exam at least once between the ages of 20 and 29, and at least twice between the ages of 30 and 39. You should also be aware of any symptoms that could indicate a problem. Between the ages of 40 and 65, our eyes can undergo significant changes. When it comes to young children, you want them to get off to a good start in every way, including their eye health.
But when is the right time to start checking your child's eyes? After all, babies and toddlers can't read an optometric chart. It's important not to delay eye exams for infants and toddlers, as some early eye problems can affect vision for life. Detecting a problem early can prevent a minor issue from becoming more serious (and more difficult to treat). It's recommended that an eye doctor perform a complete eye exam, if possible before the first year of age, and repeat it before kindergarten in children with no obvious eye problems.
Pediatricians perform limited eye exams immediately after birth and during the first few years of life. These can detect a variety of abnormalities in the light reflection of the pupil and in the external aspects of the eye and eye alignment. Undiagnosed conditions or abnormalities can cause vision loss, but it is possible to reverse some problems if detected in time. Lazy eye is one of the most common vision problems in children, usually responding well to treatment.
This may include an eye patch, eye drops, or eyeglasses. Most children undergo vision tests before starting elementary school. It's ideal to give your child an eye test before kindergarten or preschool begins. As you know, your pediatrician has specialized training to treat children.
Similarly, a pediatric eye doctor specializes in detecting and treating eye problems in children. It's very important for parents to trust their instincts; after all, you are the one who knows your child best. Your doctor may not detect any problems at first, but if you're still in doubt, keep working to identify the problem. Talk about the signs you're seeing with your child's doctor or ask for a second opinion if needed.
You can see your optometrist for most of your routine eye care needs. In fact, you should go to them for a routine eye check every year or so to ensure that your vision is optimized and that your eyes are healthy. Many eye diseases develop without symptoms, so an eye exam is vital for monitoring the eyes in general. Because many eye diseases and conditions develop without any symptoms in their early stages, undergoing an annual medical eye exam can help identify threatening problems before damage occurs.
For medical eye care and the ongoing treatment of chronic eye diseases and conditions, a medical optometrist is ideal for primary medical eye care. These eye doctors focus on optimizing your visual acuity and helping you manage and optimize your vision as it changes throughout your life. It's very important to have a comprehensive eye exam for reference at age 40, even for people who have no known symptoms or risk factors for eye diseases. How often your child should see the eye doctor depends on their age and any existing eye health problems.
While medical optometrists can also offer vision correction services and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, they are dedicated to providing primary medical eye care, evaluating your eye health, monitoring and diagnosing diseases in their earliest stages, and providing a wide variety of therapeutic interventions. When you take your child to the optometrist at 6 months of age, they will evaluate astigmatism, farsightedness, and eye movement patterns. After their first exam at 6 months of age, how often you should take them back depends on their age. For school-age children, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends an exam every two years if vision correction is not required.