Depending on your optometrist's recommendations, an eye exam for your child is beneficial every year or two. First, a comprehensive eye exam will determine if corrective lenses are needed or if your child already wears glasses, the optometrist will be able to assess if your child's prescription has changed. An eye exam can also determine any underlying eye diseases or health problems.
Optometrists use a wide variety of tests and procedures to examine your children's eyes. These tests range from simple tests, such as identifying letters on an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using digital imaging equipment to see and evaluate tiny blood vessels and other structures inside the eye. To prepare for a visit with your trusted optometrist, here's how an eye exam is performed.
Visual acuity test
Among the first tests performed as part of an eye exam are visual acuity tests that measure the sharpness of vision. These are usually performed using a chart with letters of various sizes to measure visual acuity at a distance and a small portable chart to measure visual acuity at a normal reading distance. The optometrist then checks eye alignment and colour vision and examines the back of the eyes with an ophthalmoscope.
Ocular mobility test
Eye motility tests determine how well the eyes can accurately follow a moving object or move quickly between two separate targets and focus. Eye movement problems can cause eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and other issues.
This is the test used to determine the prescription for glasses. During a refraction test, the optometrist places an instrument called a phoropter in front of the eyes and has the patient try on a series of lenses. He then asks which of the two lenses seems clearer. The refraction determines the degree of myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism.
In this test, the optometrist will dim the room and shine a bright light into the eyes with an instrument. This procedure can inform the optometrist if there is significant distortion of the corneal shape. Depending on health and age, the optometrist may also perform additional tests, including pupil dilation and a test to assess the extent of the field of vision.
Remember, proper eye exams are essential to ensure that your child has the visual skills needed to do well in school.
A child who can't read a book or see at the blackboard is likely to become frustrated and see their academic performance deteriorate. Some vision problems, such as lazy eye, are easier to treat if detected as early as possible while the child's vision system is still developing.
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