Be sure to make vision care and eye checks a part of your child’s routine medical care.
Different kinds of doctors offer eye care, and the names can be confusing:
- Ophthalmologistsare qualified medical doctors who provide comprehensive eye care with medicine and surgery.
- Paediatric Ophthalmologists and Optometrists have undergone special training to diagnose and treat Child Vision Problems. Some optometrists specialise in Child Vision, but assist without providing surgery.
- Optometristsprovide services that may be similar to ophthalmologists, but they don’t perform surgery.
- Opticiansfit and adjust eyeglasses.
Routine medical exams for Children include:
- Newborns should be checked for general eye health by a paediatrician or family physician in the hospital nursery.
- High-risk newborns (including premature infants), those with a family history of eye problems, and those with obvious eye irregularities should be examined by an eye doctor if there is any concern. Newborns that spend time in a UV lit incubator should be checked regularly to rule out premature UV damage to the Retina.
- In the first year of life, all infants should be routinely screened for eye health during checkups with their paediatrician or family doctor or clinic sister.
- Around age 3½, kids should have eye health screenings and visual acuity tests (tests that measure sharpness of vision) with their paediatrician or family doctor or clinic sister.
- Around age 5, kids should have their vision and eye alignment checked by their paediatrician or family doctor. Those who fail either test should be examined by an OPHTHALMOLOGIST or OPTOMETRIST.
- After age 5, routine screenings should be done at school and the primary doctor’s office, especially if symptoms such as squinting or frequent headaches occur. (Many times, a teacher will notice that a child isn’t seeing well in class.)
- Kids who wear prescription glasses or contacts should have annual checkups by an OPTOMETRIST to screen for vision changes.