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We have routine testing at our schools on school picture day, but I’m wondering when your children started getting routine eye exams. I remember developing headaches around 8 when I was little which resulted in needing glasses. And then, of course, if my child needs glasses, how do we encourage them to take care of them…and wear them?!
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In Australia, a child will have their vision tested as part of their 4 year old health check. It used to amaze me how many children had problems with their vision that went unnoticed until this check - but then i had a personal experience with my own child. My son was diagnosed with extremely poor vision at the age of 2.5 years and we honestly had no idea. He seemed to be able to do everything (and in some ways more) than other kids his age so we never thought his vision would be a problem.
Getting your child's vision tested is a great idea and doing it early on is even better :)
As a school nurse who performs the eye exams, I can tell you that the school exam is different from the one at the eye doctor.
At school, we do check vision and the need for glasses but not the health of the eye. I have referred kids to an eye specialist for what has turned out to be cancerous tumors of the eye and undetected blindness in one eye. These were not kindergartners, and the condition may have been missed during a rapid routine eye screening at school previously.
The recommendation is that your child be seen by an eye doctor as an infant and then have the pediatrician do a yearly screening at a well exam. However, it is rare for the doctor to do the screening at these appointments. If you are lucky, the nurse will do the exam. At times, it can be a poorly trained medical assistant or other non-nurse staff.
At age 3-5, your child should once again be seen by an eye doctor. I always recommend that this exam be done before beginning kindergarten and go to a pediatric eye specialist. If you have vision insurance for your child, this exam should be an easy decision to make.