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Wellness news: The importance of eye exams for children

Aug 18, 2016

When it comes to keeping children healthy and ensuring proper childhood development, annual visits to pediatricians are important. But what most parents don't realize is that annual eye exams are equally as important.

Healthy vision is essential to a child's ability to learn and achieve their academic potential, as well as to play sports and other activities.

When is the first eye exam needed? Surprised to know that a six-month old should have an eye exam? That's right.

Because early exams are not just about vision.

During infancy, a child's vision is constantly changing. In the earliest months of their lives, babies can only focus on close-up objects, and they see only high-contrast colors, such as black, white and red. At six months of age, however, visual acuity sharpens. It is at this point that babies should have their vision examined by an eye doctor to ensure that their eyes are developing normally, and are working together. If not, one or both eyes may be affected and that could lead to a lifetime of poor vision.

Other exams should be in the 3- to 4-year-old range, because the eyes have basically done their growing and developing by then. And a pre-kindergarten exam is a must (don't assume school-offered vision screenings are enough).

After that, eye exams should become an annual ritual, just like annual check-ups at the pediatrician's office. It's the best way for the eye doctor to keep tabs on young eyes that can change fast. Don't just assume all is well unless you see your child squinting or complaining about his or her eyes. Make yearly trips to the eye doctor as important for your family as annual visits to pediatricians.

You can easily find a VSP eye doctor in your area that specializes in working with children. 

For more information on the importance of eye exams for children visit the VSP website.

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