Eye Test for Children – What You Need to Know

November 12, 2012

Eye Test for Children - What You Need to Know

Babies usually get an eye test at birth and another one after six weeks. After that, children usually don’t get another one until they are about to start primary school.

If you are worried about your children’s eyes between each checkup, then it would be highly recommended for you to ask your doctor, school nurse or health visitor for professional advice in the matter.

How to Get Children Ready for Eye Tests

Before your children get an eye test, make it a point to explain to them what they should expect from it. Let them know that they will have to look at objects and identify them for the doctor, for example – be it pictures, light shapes or letters. Also, let them know that the doctor might place eye drops into their eyes, but make sure that they know that the entire experience won’t be painful in any way, as well.

Which Tests Should You Expect?

Babies generally need to go through an eye test, so that the doctor can look for obvious problems like redness, cloudiness and cross-eyes. During this test, a light will be shone into the eyes of the baby to check for pupil reflexes and for red reflection. If there is a white reflection instead, the baby might have to see a specialist to check for eye problems, like cataracts. The doctor will also check whether the baby pays any attention to the light or to other objects that are shown to them during this time.

Primary school children, on the other hand, will have to read the letters that they see on the charts that are shown to them during their eye test. These charts, also known as logMAR cards or Snellen charts, usually have letters in rows of decreasing sizes. Aside from that, the doctor will also check the movement range of your primary school children’s eyes and whether they can follow moving objects well.

Color-blindness isn’t usually checked during an eye test until children are 11 years old or if it is already suspected. Usually, Ishihara color vision tests are used for this, which involve images that consist of two different colors of dots. Children with normal vision should be able to pinpoint the highlighted number or letter on the test. If they aren’t able to do so or if they can’t see the images on the test, they might have trouble with color vision.

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