For most parents, taking their child to the dentist when they are very young is almost a given. This is not as common as with a visit to the optometrist. The College of Optometrists suggests scheduling a first appointment with the optometrist around 3 unless the parents suspect a problem.
The eye exam for toddlers is not the same as for school-aged children. The optometrist takes a more objective approach. The first step is to determine if the child's eyes are straight by having them stare at a target such as a plush toy or an object that makes noise.
A retinoscope is also used. This device is used to determine the strength of the child's eye without the child having to name the letters or say which lenses they see better with as they would during an adult eye examination. This instrument makes it possible to detect nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Before the age of three, it is possible to monitor our children's specific actions and prompt us to consult an optometrist. If they rub their eyes or blink a lot, if they are clumsy, for example, they fall or bump into walls. These are good indicators that vision may be impaired.
The earlier your child sees an optometrist, the more likely glasses will prevent the problem from worsening and help their vision develop normally. According to the College of Optometrists, more and more teenagers are affected by accommodative vision problems related to the overuse of digital screens. Myopia often develops in adolescence because of screens and computers. Playing outside can significantly decrease the progression of myopia.
A basic exam with an optometrist is covered until age 18.