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Paediatric Vision Screening


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.


What is a comprehensive paediatric eye examination?


It comprises the following tests:

  • Visual acuity
  • Colour vision
  • 3D vision
  • Eye alignment tests
  • Eye movements
  • Eye pressure
  • Refraction (eye power check)
  • Health of eye structures (front and back)


These generally take 30-60 minutes to perform.

Can you test very young children who don’t know their letters yet or have not started talking ?


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.


Won’t my child tell me if he or she can’t see?


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.


Should all children go for a comprehensive eye examination?


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.


My child passed their school eye screening, do they still need a comprehensive eye exam?


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.


What if I notice my child’s eye turns in or out occasionally?


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.


What if I notice my child’s pupil looks white or “different” in photos?


A suspected “white pupil” should be evaluated immediately for serious vision or life threatening conditions such as childhood cataract, childhood eye cancer (retinoblastoma).


Mt Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road, #10-21/39/40
Singapore 329563

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 830am to 5pm
Saturday: 830am to 1230pm