Pediatric Eye Exams in Sherwood Park
Kids are not simply mini-adults. Children need specialized eye exams that consider their unique pediatric needs and vision conditions. Our friendly and experienced Sherwood Park eye doctor is a pro at treating kids of all ages, from infants to teens.
Many parents assume that as long as their child isn’t complaining about vision, then there’s no reason to schedule an eye exam. Yet, this isn’t true. Children do not always complain, because they aren’t fully aware of how their vision should appear. They just adapt to what they see. However, an undetected and untreated vision condition could interfere greatly with their performance in school and on the sports field. It can also impact behavior and development. That’s why routine pediatric eye exams are essential for all kids.
My child passed the vision screening in school. Does he still need an eye exam?
Yes, he does. School vision testing is not the same as the comprehensive eye exam that our Sherwood Park eye doctor will administer. Vision tests can indicate if your kid needs eyeglasses or contact lenses, yet they are not a reliable way to detect the signs of other common ocular problems in children, such as lazy eye (amblyopia), misaligned eyes (strabismus), and difficulty with focusing (accommodation). Many typical pediatric vision conditions require vision therapy or treatment other than eyeglasses.
When should I bring my child for eye exams?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), you should schedule regular eye exams for your child starting from a half-year old. If everything is normal, then it is recommended to return at three years old and then again before starting elementary school, at about 5 to 6 years of age. If your child has any pediatric risk factors, needs eyeglasses or contact lenses, or has any type of vision treatment, our eye doctor will instruct you on when to book follow-up exams.
What is a pediatric eye exam?
Our Sherwood Park eye doctor will determine the specific procedures and testing depending upon your child’s age and stage of development. Rest assured (and tell your child too!) that all of the tests are quick and painless.
To begin, we will evaluate visual acuity to check for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The results of this check will help indicate if your child needs eyeglasses or contact lenses. In addition to determining the vision prescription, we will assess a range of visual skills that your kid needs. This includes:
- Tracking skills
- Binocular vision: how the eyes work together as a team
- Accommodation: the ability to switch focus smoothly between near and far
- Hand-eye coordination
- Peripheral (side) vision
- Color vision
Eye health is also important, and our optometrist will examine the area around the eye and inside the eye. If necessary, we may conduct a dilated eye exam to inspect the optic nerve and retinal tissues. If your child has any particular risk factors, such as family history of eye disease, premature birth, eye trauma, medications or systemic disease, be sure to tell us about it. The more details we have about your children’s health, the better we can customize their eye care.
Are there any warning signs that my child needs an immediate eye exam?
It is important to be proactive with caring for your child’s vision. This is the best way to help prevent unnecessary challenges and struggles in school. It is not unusual for kids to be misdiagnosed with a behavioral or learning disorder in school when an untreated vision problem is really the source of the problem.
The following symptoms are warning signs that you should schedule a pediatric eye exam as soon as possible:
- Squinting, or closing one eye to see
- Excessive blinking
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Inability to hold a steady gaze
- Poor tracking skills
- Short attention span
- Avoidance of reading
- Wandering eye, or crossed eyes
- Head tilting or turning
- Droopy eyelid
We invite you and your children to visit our Sherwood Park eye doctor for an eye exam! Our optometric team aims to maximize your children’s vision with a pleasant and professional eye care experience, so they look forward to seeing us again!