How Often Should My Child Have Eye Exams?

Eye exams for children are an essential element of growing health. Even children with no vision risk factors or eyesight conditions must undergo these vital checks to ensure healthy visual development.

The following details the recommended intervals for children up to the age of 18, plus discusses the different tests an eye doctor will perform as a child develops.

All About Your Child, Eye Exams, and Specialist Eye Doctors

  • Eye exams for pediatrics
  • Your child and eye exams as they grow

Eye exams for pediatrics 

A baby’s eye function is checked post-birth for any genetic or other conditions that might be immediately obvious. However, this aside, it’s recommended that children have their first eye exam at around six months. This first eye exam will ensure that the eyes and vision are developing as expected. 

It’s then recommended that a child should undergo another eye check at around 2-3 years of age and then again just before they begin school. During these formative years, an eye doctor will be checking for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Lazy eye (amblyopia)
  • Crossed eyes (strabismus)
  • Difficulties in focusing
  • Convergence insufficiency (an inability to easily view objects close up)
  • Poor depth perception
  • Ptosis (droopy eyelid)
  • Myopia (short-sightedness)

Once a child hits school age, it’s usual to have regular eye checks every couple of years. However, if any issues have been detected, then your ophthalmologist might recommend more frequent visits—perhaps as often as every six months, depending on what the condition is.

Your child and eye exams as they grow

Pediatric eye exams evolve along with their visual and mental development as a child grows. The following outlines the tests used at various ages and what they’re used for 

6 months-2 years:

  • Pupil response: the dilation and constriction of the pupil in the presence and absence of light.
  • Fixate and follow: the ability to focus on and follow an object as it moves.
  • Preferential looking: a test that measures an infant’s vision using brightly colored cards to attract attention.

2-5 years:

  • Random dot stereopsis: Uses patterns of dots and 3D glasses to measure 3D vision
  • LEA symbols: Works in a similar manner to a Snellen chart but is designed for children who’re not yet able to identify letters. It uses symbols, such as squares and circles, to measure near and distant vision.
  • Ocular examination: To view the interior structures of the eye.
  • Retinoscopy: This involves shining a light into the eye to measure any refractive error that would be a sign of myopia or hyperopia.
  • Ishihara test: Used to test color vision.

6-18 years:

Additional examinations are performed once a child reaches school age. These include ones that test for eye focusing, tracking, teaming (both eyes working together), visual perception, hand-eye coordination, and visual acuity at near, median, and far distance. 

These ongoing eye exams are essential during the years of growth and development. Many of the difficulties that some children are perceived to have at school—both academically and behaviorally—are often found to be caused by undiagnosed issues with their vision.

Two common conditions are myopia, or short-sightedness, that’s estimated to affect around 42% of all children, and hyperopia, or far-sightedness, that’s diagnosed in approximately 13% of children aged between 6-17.

Want the Best Child Eye Exams? The WBEC is Committed to the Best Eyesight for Every Age Group  

The West Boca Eye Center is a leading academic-grade facility with some of the most talented eye doctors in the world. From regular child eye exams to specialist treatment for every childhood eye condition, we’re as passionate about the eyesight of the most precious members of your family as you are. 

Visit to explore our specialties and get in touch today to book your child’s appointment.