Every parent hopes that his or her child grows up happy and healthy. Vision contributes a large part to a child’s ability to learn. For this reason, it is important for kids to have comprehensive eye exams.
It comprises the following tests:
These generally take 30-60 minutes to perform.
Yes! In testing young children, most tests are performed objectively. We use picture and shape charts, or high contrast black and white lines for vision testing that are interactive and fun for very young children.
Not always. Our visual perception of what is “clear” is based on previous experiences of “seeing clearly”. If your child has never known what “clear vision” looks like, he or she will not recognize the problem of not seeing well.
Kids typically have their distance vision checked by the paediatrician and at school vision screenings. Without doubt, distance vision testing is important. It can pick up children who have poor vision due to eg: large amounts of myopia (short-sightedness). However, refractive errrors like myopia constitute a small fraction of a child’s developmental vision. Hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism and squints (eye-misalignment) may not be detected by vision screening alone. If uncorrected, problems such as lazy eye may develop later on.
Additionally, any child who fails vision screening should definitely undergo a comprehensive eye examination. If a your child has known risk factors or a strong family history for certain eye conditions, or is showing symptoms that may be related to a vision problem (eg: “squinting” eyes to see, frequent blinking, reading books or watching TV up-close, misaligned eyes) a comprehensive eye examination is recommended.
There are many other components of vision that are not examined during eye screening in school. Eye screening may detect a small group of children with eye problems. In others, the eye condition may go undetected till later in the school years.
This is a eye alignment problem, commonly called a “squint”. All squints should be evaluated, regardless of how often the squint occurs, how badly the eye squints or how long the child has had this problem. Read more about squints here.
A suspected “white pupil” should be evaluated immediately for serious vision or life threatening conditions such as childhood cataract, childhood eye cancer (retinoblastoma).