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When should you take your child to the eye doctor?

Eye exam

Many parents want to make sure their child is developing normally and one question they may have is, “When should I take my child to the eye doctor?”

A lot of times, vision problems are identified once a child begins going to school, but there are some behaviors that could be a sign that they should have their eyes checked even earlier:

  • How close do they sit to the television set? If they sit really close maybe they are having some vision problems.
  • If you’re with your child and spot something interesting and point it out to your child and they have trouble seeing it.
  • If at any point you think your child is crossing an eye or their eyes don’t seem to focus well.
  • If they are exhibiting poor hand-eye coordination.
  • If you take a photo of your child and the little red light from the camera that shines on their eyes is off center or isn’t equal.

Typically I recommend parents take their child to the eye doctor at the age of 3, even if they aren’t exhibiting any signs of trouble.

At that age, children are usually more cooperative, more verbal and can understand simple directions.

If you are the parent of a toddler, you can get a free eye screening for children at the age of 3 through the Eye Care Council’s See to Learn program, which provides a free vision screening by a participating optometrist.

It’s important to make sure all children stay up-to-date with not only well-child checks, but dental and vision exams as well.

About Elaine Harrington MD

Elaine Harrington, MD, is a pediatrician at Ascension Medical Group on East 21st Street in Wichita, Kansas.