Comprehensive Eye Health Exam for
Children and Adults

Regardless of your age or physical health, it’s essential to have regular eye health exam.

During a complete eye health exam at Ultimate Eyecare, your optometric physician will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team, and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.

A comprehensive eye health exam includes several tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside your eyes.

Eyecare experts recommend you have a complete eye health exam every one to three years, depending on your age, risk factors, and physical condition.

  • Remember, early detection is key to your health, including and especially, your eye health!
Female african optometrist doing sight testing for patient in hospital
Senior woman in optician's office having examined sight

Ultimate Eye Care Exams for Children

Some experts estimate that approximately 5% to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), all children should have their eyes examined at six months, at age three, and before the start of school. Children without vision problems or risk factors for eye or vision problems should continue to have their eyes examined at least every two years throughout school.

Children with existing vision problems or risk factors should have their eyes examined more frequently. Common risk factors for vision problems include:

  • Premature Birth
  • Developmental Delays
  • Turned or Crossed Eyes
  • History of Eye Injury
  • Family History of Eye Disease
  • Other Physical Illness or Disease

The AOA recommends that children who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should have their eyes examined at least every 12 months or according to their eye doctor’s instructions. Read more about Pediatric Eye Health Exam.

Adults. The AOA also recommends an annual eye health exam for any adult who wears eyeglasses or contacts. If you don’t usually need vision correction, you still need an eye health exam every two to three years up to the age of 40, depending on your rate of visual change and overall health. Doctors often recommend more frequent examinations for adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other disorders because many diseases can impact vision and eye health.

If you are over 40, it’s a good idea to have your eyes examined yearly to check for common age-related eye problems such as presbyopia, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Read more about Vision After 40.

Because the risk of eye disease continues to increase with advancing age, everyone over 60 should be examined annually. Read more about Vision After 60.

Pediatric Eye Health Exam

According to experts, 80% of learning is visual, which means that if your child is having difficulty seeing clearly, their learning can be affected. This also goes for infants who develop and learn about the world around them through their sense of sight. To ensure that your children have the visual resources they need to grow and develop normally, their eyes and vision should be checked by an eye doctor at certain stages of their development.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at the start of school at six months, three years. Then at least every two years following. More frequent exams are recommended if there are any signs of a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed or lazy eyes, family history or previous injuries). A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have their eyes examined yearly. Children’s eyes can change rapidly as they grow.

Eye Health Exams in Infants: Birth – 24 Months

A baby’s visual system develops gradually over the first few months of life. They must learn to focus, move their eyes, and use them together as a team. The brain also needs to know how to process the visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. With the development of eyesight comes the foundation for motor development, such as crawling, walking, and hand-eye coordination.

You can ensure that your baby is reaching milestones by keeping an eye on what is happening with your infant’s development and by ensuring that you schedule a comprehensive eye health exam at six months. At this exam, the eye doctor will check that the child is seeing properly and developing on track and look for conditions that could impair eye health or vision (such as strabismus(misalignment or crossing of the eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, and or astigmatism).

Since there is a higher risk of eye and vision problems if your infant is born premature or shows signs of developmental delay, your eye doctor may require frequent visits to monitor their progress.

Eye Health Exams in Preschool Children: 2-5

The toddler and preschool age is when children experience drastic growth in intellectual and motor skills. During this time, they will develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and perceptual abilities that will prepare them to read and write, play sports and participate in creative activities such as drawing, sculpting, or building. This is all dependent upon good vision and visual processes.

This is the age when parents should be looking for signs of lazy eye (amblyopia) – when one eye doesn’t see clearly, or crossed eyes (strabismus) – when one or both eyes turns inward or outward. The earlier these conditions are treated, the higher the success rate.

Parents should also be aware of any developmental delays involving an object, number, letter recognition, color recognition, or coordination, as the root of such problems can often be visual. Suppose you notice your child squinting, rubbing his eyes frequently, sitting very close to the tv or reading material, or generally avoiding activities such as puzzles or coloring. In that case, it is worth a trip to the eye doctor.

Beutiful women with squre focus on eye

Eye Health Exams in School-Aged Children: Ages 6-18

Undetected or uncorrected vision problems can cause children and teens to suffer academically, socially, athletically, and personally. If your child is having trouble in school or after-school activities, there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills depend on good vision and the ability of your eyes to work together. Children with problems with focusing, reading, teaming their eyes or hand-eye coordination will often experience frustration and may also exhibit behavioral problems. Often they don’t know that the vision they are experiencing is abnormal, so they aren’t able to express that they need help.

In addition to the symptoms written above, signs of vision problems in older children include:

  • Short Attention Span
  • Headaches
  • Frequent Blinking
  • Avoiding Reading
  • Tilting the Head to One Side
  • Double Vision
  • Losing Their Place Often While Reading
  • Poor Reading Comprehension
Little girl checking her vision
Glass view of ships

The Eye Health Exam

In addition to essential visual acuity (distance and near vision), an eye health exam may assess the following visual skills that are required for learning and mobility:

  • Focusing
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Color Vision
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Binocular Vision: How the Eyes Work Together as a Team
  • Tracking

The doctor will also examine the area around the eye and inside to check for any eye diseases or health conditions. You should tell the doctor any relevant personal history of your children, such as premature birth, developmental delays, family history of eye problems, eye injuries, or medications the child is taking. This would also be the time to address any concerns or issues your child has that might indicate a vision problem.

If the eye doctor does determine that your child has a vision problem, they may discuss several therapeutic options such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, an eye patch, vision therapy, or Ortho-k, depending on the condition and the doctor’s specialty. Since some states are much easier to treat when caught early while the eyes are still developing, diagnosing any eye and vision issues as early as possible is essential.

Following the guidelines for children’s eye health exams and staying alert to any signs of vision problems can help your child reach their potential.