How often should children have their eyes examined?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. After that, kids should have routine eye exams at age 3 and again at age 5 or 6 (just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade).
For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is needed. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually.
My 5-year-old daughter just had a vision screening at school and she passed. Does she still need an eye exam?
Yes. School vision screenings are designed to detect gross vision problems. But kids can pass a screening at school and still have vision problems that can affect their learning and school performance. A comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist can detect vision problems a school screening may miss. Also, a comprehensive eye exam includes an evaluation of your child's eye health, which is not part of a school vision screening.
Can vision therapy cure learning disabilities?
No, vision therapy cannot correct learning disabilities. However, children with learning disabilities often have vision problems as well. Vision therapy can correct underlying vision problems that may be contributing to a child's learning problems.
My son is 5 years old and has 20/40 vision in both eyes.
Should I be concerned, or could this improve with time?
Usually, 5-year-olds can see 20/25 or better. But keep in mind that visual acuity testing is a subjective matter - during the test, your child is being asked to read smaller and smaller letters on a wall chart. Sometimes, kids give up at a certain line on the chart when they can actually read smaller letters. Other times, they may say they can't read smaller letters because they want glasses. (Yes, this happens!) Also, if your son had his vision tested at a school screening (where there can be plenty of distractions), it's a good idea to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to rule out nearsightedness, astigmatism or an eye health problem that may be keeping him from having better visual acuity.