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The answer to this question is YES. Your child does need an eye examination at regular intervals starting from his or her birth. But the problem is that most, if not all parents don’t know this and wait for a problem to appear before taking their child to an ophthalmologist. Healthy eyes and vision determine your child’s overall development. And her eyes should be examined regularly so that vision problem like near or farsightedness, cataracts and the lazy eye can all be detected and treated early. So, vision care and eye checks should be a part of your child's routine medical care.
- Routine medical examination timing for ensuring good vision for your child are:
- As a newborn, your baby should be checked for eye health by a Paediatrician.
- If your baby is born prematurely, then retinal examination on 30th day of birth is very important to rule out Retinopathy of Prematurity which is a blinding condition
- If the child has obvious eye irregularities or there is a history of eye problems in your family, you should get your little one checked by an ophthalmologist immediately.
- In the first year of your child’s life, you must get a routine screening for your baby’s eye health.
- At 3 years, take your child for an eye health screening and visual acuity tests that measure sharpness of vision.
- Repeat the same when your child is around five years of age.
- Your child should be examined regularly after age five.
But, if the child presents with symptoms like frequent headaches and squinting, you should rush your child to an eye doctor. Your child needs an eye exam when
- He/she rubs his/her eyes constantly
- He / she suffers from extreme light sensitivity
- Has trouble focusing
- Is not able to follow an object properly with his/her eyes
- Has abnormal alignment or movement of the eyes after six months of age
- Suffers chronic redness of the eyes
- Has chronic tearing of the eyes
- Has a white pupil instead of black
If your child has started school, the signs to look out for include
- Not being unable to see objects at a distance and having trouble reading the blackboard
- Having difficulty reading
- Sitting too close while watching TV
If your child has signs of poor vision or crossed eyes or if you see signs of an eye problem like excessive watering and discharge from the eyes; have your child’s eyes examined right away.
Common eye problems
- Lazy eye or Amblyopia – If your child faces a problem of poor vision in one or both eyes. The eyes may also have a difference in the refractive error of two eyes. If untreated, amblyopia can cause irreversible visual loss in the affected eye. It is best treated before your child is eight years old.
- Strabismus - This is a misalignment of the eyes and presents as one of the eye turning in, out, up, or down. If detected early, vision in both your child’s eyes can be restored by patching the properly aligned eye, which forces the misaligned eye to work. Misaligned eye can be aligned with help of appropriate glasses, prisms, exercises or surgery
- Refractive errors - Your child can suffer from nearsightedness or farsightedness. Nearsightedness is very common in school- going children. The child is not able to see faraway objects clearly in this. The ophthalmologist will tackle this with the help of spectacles or contact lenses. If caught early, eye conditions can be corrected easily hence regular eye exams are highly recommended for your child.
Your child can suffer from nearsightedness or farsightedness. Nearsightedness is very common in school- going children. The child is not able to see faraway objects clearly in this. The ophthalmologist will tackle this with the help of spectacles or contact lenses. If caught early, eye conditions can be corrected easily hence regular eye exams are highly recommended for your child. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ophthalmologist.