Why babies need eye exams

Babies need to see the optometrist every year starting at six months of age.  That's because children are at risk of a number of vision and eye health problems that can cause lasting damage if not caught and treated early.  Vision problems can also negatively impact child development and grow into adult problems (like poor educational and vocational achievement, social problems and increased rates of incarceration).

One of the most critical eye problems that must be caught early is retinoblastoma - eye cancer - a infant's life may depend on it.  Here is a story with video on a child from Ontario who was diagnosed with retinoblastoma by her optometrist.

Retinblastoma can run in the family but in over half of all cases, the mutation for this cancer develops in a child who has no family history of retinoblastoma.

The cancer generally affects children under the age of 6. It is most commonly diagnosed in children aged 1 - 2 years.

Can a baby have an eye exam?

Yes. Babies do not need to known their letters for doctors to be able to do an eye exam. Dr. Randhawa explains in this video:

Vision in infants

For the first six months an infant's eyes at times appear crossed or out of alignment, but this is usually normal. However, after six months of age persistent misalignment should be reported to Dr. Randhawa without delay: the child may have a condition called strabismus and treatment should begin at an early age.

Another condition that is very important to diagnose in early childhood is amblyopia (lazy eye). It can be diagnosed in infants as young as six months, and early treatment is critical for best results. Treatment becomes very difficult after age eight and if untreated it can lead to total blindness in the affected eye.

Vision development

Vision development milestones are important to monitor in an infant. Lack of proper vision development can impact the not only the child's visual system but other aspects of her development. Vision is important for interacting with the world, learning, and for important brain stimulation. Vision problems can impair a child in all of those areas of his or her development, which is why it is important to find and fix any vision problems so that they do not present an obstacle to normal development.

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Children's eye exams are free at Vision Source Vancouver

At our clinic, children's vision examinations are free. 
We do not charge a fee above MSP coverage.

 

 

Children's vision and learning