Vision changes can occur in your child without you or your child noticing them. It is suggested that children receive an eye examination once every two years, or more frequently if your Optometrist recommends. The earlier a vision problem is detected amongst children and treated, the more likely the treatment will be successful. Our experienced Optometrists at Abernethy Owens provide professional eye care for all members of the family.  We are often asked many questions about children’s eye exams so read on for some useful information which may help to provide some answers.

Eye Testing for Infants (6 months to 2 years)

Healthy eyes and good vision play a vital role in how infants learn to see. Usually at this age, Optometrists are testing to determine if the child's eyes are developing normally. A series of non-invasive tests are carried out to check for near-sightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism as well as eye movement ability and eye alignment. 

Tests may include:

  • Pupil Responses - opening and closing in the presence of light.
  • Fixate and Follow - the ability to follow an object as it moves.
  • Preferential Looking – a measure of an infant’s vision. This is usually a card blank on one side and striped on the other to attract the infant’s gaze.

Eye Testing for Preschool Children (2 to 5 years)

This age group depends on their vision to learn tasks that will prepare them for school. They are developing the visually-guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and visual perceptual abilities necessary to read and write.

Testing for this age group is more comprehensive than infant testing, and involves:

  • LEA symbols - similar to regular eye tests using charts with letters, except that special symbols in these tests include an apple, house, square and circle.
  • Retinoscopy - involves shining a light into the eye to observe the reflection from the back of the eye (retina). 
  • Stereopsis test - uses special patterns of dots and 3-D glasses to measure how well a child's eyes work together to create true depth perception (3D vision).

In addition to short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism, at this age, Optometrists will also examine for vision problems including: 

  • Lazy eye (amblyopia) 
  • Misalignment of eyes (strabismus)
  • Convergence insufficiency - the inability to maintain eye alignment when viewing near objects. 
  • Focusing problems
  • Poor depth perception
  • Colour vision defects
  • Other eye health problems

The Optometrist will also examine the cornea, iris, and lens to look for cloudiness or other irregularities.

Eye Testing for School Aged Children (6 to 18 years)

Good vision is essential for a child to succeed in the classroom. When a child's eyes are not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer. Vision is more than just the ability to see clearly, it is also the ability to understand and respond to what is seen. There are many visual skills beyond clear vision that are required to support academic success so regular eye examinations are vital. Routine eye exams for school children and adolescents will test for a wide variety of eye health and vision problems, ensuring early intervention and treatment so that they can continue to develop and learn without being held back by eye or vision problems. 

How Accurate Is a Child's Eye Test?

Naturally children, especially very young ones, respond differently to adults during eye tests. In order to achieve the most accurate results, it takes an Optometrist with expertise and experience in working with and testing young children. A different set of skills and equipment and a little more patience and the ability to maintain the child's attention is critical to get the most from their eye test. 

How Often Should My Child’s Eyes Be Examined?

Children should have their first eye examination at 6 months of age. They should then have their eyes examined at age 3 and again just before they start school or at about age 5 to 6. School-aged children should have an eye test at least every 2 years. Children who require glasses or contact lenses should be examined as recommended by their Optometrist.

For an Optometrist Perth Families Rely On, Choose Abernethy Owens

Our friendly and professional team is highly skilled and experienced in accurately testing and effectively treating children's eye conditions. As independent Optometrists, we strive to provide a personalised service, ensuring a calm and comfortable experience for you and your child. Make an appointment with our friendly team online today and experience the Abernethy Owens difference for yourself.