1. When should I bring my child in for their first exam?
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that a child have their first exam at 6 months of age. A child should have a comprehensive exam by 3 years of age. All children should have exams yearly.
2. What can I expect from a pediatric exam?
Every pediatric exam is tailored specifically to each child’s abilities and needs. Most exams include a variety of tests including vision assessment with complete refraction to determine if a prescription for eyewear is necessary, ocular motility testing, stereopsis and colour vision testing, and an ocular health exam. The average pediatric exam lasts approximately 15 minutes.
3. What can I expect if my child needs to have eye drops at their exam (cycloplegic refraction)?
For some children, it may be recommended that they have a cycloplegic refraction. This procedure involves instilling drops into your child’s eyes to dilate the pupil and relax the focusing muscles inside the eye. This helps the doctor to further assess and finalize the prescription. The drops take 30 minutes to take full effect and the side effects of blurred vision, light sensitivity and occasionally fatigue can last 8 hours on average. The entire exam, including waiting for the eye drops to take effect, lasts approximately 40 minutes.
4. What is Eye See, Eye Learn?
The Alberta Association of Optometrists along with school boards across Alberta have worked together to create the Eye See, Eye Learn program. This program was created to educate parents on the importance of eye exams for their children. The goal is to have all children have a complete eye exam at or before kindergarten age. This pre-school eye exam helps to prevent unnecessary vision loss from amblyopia (lazy eye) and can also prevent learning difficulties. Be sure to ask our doctors or staff about the program at your child’s next eye exam.