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Eye Exam

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KEY POINTS

  • An eye exam is a way to test your child’s vision and eye health. Your child may have several different kinds of tests.
  • If your child has a vision problem, your child’s eye care provider will prescribe glasses or contact lenses. If any eye health problems are found, your child’s provider may prescribe medicine or more tests.

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What is an eye exam?

An eye exam is a way to test your child’s vision and eye health. Your child’s eye care provider checks to see if your child needs glasses or contact lenses. The provider also tests the health of your child’s eyes to make sure that your child does not have any eye diseases. If your child’s provider finds signs of an eye disease, your child can get treatment before the eye disease becomes a problem. This may prevent a permanent loss of vision.

When should my child have an eye exam?

All babies who are born premature should have a complete eye exam as soon as possible after birth.

All school-age children should have eye screenings done every 1-2 years during primary care health visits, in schools, or at public screenings. Any child who fails a vision screening test should have a complete eye exam.

You should also see your child’s eye care provider if your child has:

  • Blurry vision
  • Straight lines looking crooked such as if a telephone pole may appear to be bent
  • Eye pain or strain
  • Red eyes
  • Blind spots
  • Floaters or flashes in your child’s vision
  • Headaches
  • Any other eye problem

How do I prepare my child for an eye exam?

If your child wears glasses or contact lenses, or uses eye drops regularly, be sure to take them with you. Be prepared to answer questions about your child’s vision and health history. Your child’s eye care provider will want to know if your child is having any vision problems. Your child’s provider will want to know if your child does a lot of computer work or spends a lot of time looking at cell phones or video games. The provider will also want to know if your child has any general health problems and what medicines your child takes. Keep an updated list of all of your child’s medicines, including eye drops, for your child’s provider.

What happens during an eye exam?

Your child’s eye care provider will ask if your child is having any problems with the eyes. The kinds of tests your child has may be different depending on what kind of problems your child is having.

If your child already wears glasses or contact lenses, the provider will ask when your child wears them and for how long each day. If your child wears contact lenses, the provider will also ask what solutions your child uses to clean them. Next, the provider will do these vision tests:

  • Your child will read an eye chart to test vision.
  • Your child will then look through a special scope while the provider places lenses in front of the eyes to check reading vision and your child’s prescription for glasses or contact lenses. The provider will also test how well your child’s eyes focus, and how well your child’s eyes work together.
  • The eye care provider will test your child’s peripheral and side vision.

The eye care provider may measure the shape of your child’s eye, especially if your child wears contact lenses.

  • The eye care provider may use eye drops to dilate your child’s pupils. The eye drops open up the pupils so that the provider can see the back of the eye. The provider checks for serious problems like abnormal blood vessels or a pulling away of the retina, which is the lining at the back of the eye.

If your child has a vision problem, the eye care provider will prescribe glasses or contact lenses. If any eye health problems are found, your child’s provider may prescribe medicine or more tests.

What happens after the eye exam?

If the provider used eye drops to dilate your child’s pupils, the eyes may stay dilated for 4 to 6 hours. This may make your child’s near vision a little blurry and your child may be sensitive to light for a few hours. Have your child wear sunglasses until the effects of the eye drops wears off.

If the provider prescribed glasses, you and your child can select frames and order new glasses at any time after the visit. If your child is getting contact lenses, your child may need to see the provider again to have them properly fitted.

Reviewed for medical accuracy by faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Web site: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/wilmer/
Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-07-29
Last reviewed: 2019-07-17
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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