McFarland Clinic

How to Know When Your Child Needs an Eye Exam

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June 8, 2021

Many children's vision problems do not have obvious signs or symptoms and are not easily detected on standard vision testing alone. So how do you know when it's time for your child to get an eye exam?

Signs That Your Child May Have Vision Problems

Children may be having vision problems if they are experiencing any of the following:

  • Squinting
  • Having trouble with reading or avoiding reading
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain

Eye Alignment Problems in Children

"Parents should also be on the lookout for eye alignment problems," says optometrist Macy Dieleman, OD of McFarland Clinic's Boone Eye Center. "For instance if an eye is turned inward or outward, that's something that should be examined as that could lead to potentially decreased vision for that child."

Why Should Kids Get Eye Exams?

Children are not always aware that they're not seeing as clearly as they should. Yearly checkups can help determine if there's anything that could lead to problems with a child's reading or development academically.

Optometrists or ophthalmologists will examine the health of the front and the back of the eye. They can also prescribe glasses if necessary or make recommendations for things that can help a child's eyes work better as a team.

How Often Should Children Get Eye Exams?

The American Optometric Association recommends comprehensive eye exams for all children beginning at age 3 and then again at age 5, and then depending on your doctor's recommendations, every one to two years thereafter.

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