When your child is an infant, they should receive an eye exam to ensure their eyes are developing properly. If everything looks good, they won't need to return to the eye doctor until they begin school. School-age children should receive routine eye exams to test for changes to their sight. Eye exams are important for overall wellness, but they can also be fun for kids. During an eye exam, your child will get to experience a variety of different machines used to test their vision and eye health. Here are just a few of the things that will happen during a kid's eye exam:
1. Your child will be asked to read a vision chart
Vision charts are crucial diagnostic tools. They allow eye doctors to measure a patient's visual acuity. The doctor will ask your child to read several rows of letters and numbers. They will repeat this task using their left eye, their right eye, and both eyes. If your child is unable to read all the lines accurately, their eye doctor will use a phoropter to test different lenses and the extent to which they improve your child's vision.
2. Your child's ocular pressure will be tested
Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss. It usually affects older people, but it's never too early to begin preventative care. A tonometer is a device used to test ocular pressure. Your child will be instructed to place their face on a cushioned stand and hold still. The tonometer will blow air at your child's eyes, which will allow an eye pressure reading to be taken. The air generated by the tonometer can tickle or surprise kids, but it isn't painful.
3. Your child's pupils will be dilated
For many, pupil dilation is the least preferred part of an eye exam. The sensation of eye drops can be unsettling for children who aren't used to it. However, pupil dilation is an important part of an eye exam. When your child's eyes are dilated, the eye doctor will be able to easily check the condition of their optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting signals from the eyes to the brain. If the optic nerve is damaged, blindness can result. Before your child's pupils are dilated, the eye doctor will administer numbing eye drops. Your child's eyes will be temporarily more sensitive to the light, but the procedure won't hurt.