When should my child’s eyes be checked
The Optometrists Association of Australia recommends at children have a comprehensive eye test with an optometrist before starting school and regularly as they progress through primary and secondary school
Newborns should be checked for general eye health by a pediatrician or family physician in the hospital nursery.
High-risk newborns (including premature infants), those with a family history of eye problems, and those with obvious eye irregularities should be examined by an eye specialist. A referral can be obtained by an optometrist.
We recommend that in the first two years, all infants should be routinely screened for eye health and eye alignments disorders with an optometrist
We certainly recommend the first comprehensive eye exam be done before the age of 3. There is a lot that can be checked for this age group. This exam focuses on objective observations and measurements to ensure your child’s eyes are healthy, seeing clearly for distance and near and that their eyes are working together as a team. Up until the age of 3, children are learning to see.
At 4-5 years of age, we check to ensure their vision is ready for school. We may be able to check for stereo acuity (3-d test), colour vision, tracking, teaming and focussing. If their vision is not working as well as they should at this stage, it can affect their ability to learn to read.
At 7-8 years of age, we check their visual efficiencies such as their ability to change their focus for far and near (eg copying from the board), track words and sentences (fine pursuits and saccadic movements) and also screen their visual information processing ability. Difficulties at this stage can affect their ability to read to learn.
Starting high school is a huge milestone and ensuring their eyes can cope with the additional workload in year 7 ensures they are not struggling from near point stress.
Year 11-12 represents another leap in the amount of near work completed during the week. An eye exam prior to the stressful periods of assignments and exam is recommended.