Australia | English

Importance of Kids Eye Tests

Great vision can make a world of difference, especially in learning environments where concentration is key to development and success. With children back at school for the new year, what better time is there to ensure they're seeing their best?

Optometry Australia suggest that children should have their first eye exams at six months old, three years old and before starting school at five years old. After this, regular visits as advised by your optometrist will prove vital in ensuring your kids are in school learning with optimal vision. Early treatment can prevent larger problems down the line and detect vision issues that could otherwise impair sight for life. Please note, however, that children who need glasses or contact lenses should be seeing an optometrist annually or as the optometrist recommends.

Why at these ages?

During infancy, a child's vision is continually changing. In the earliest months of their lives, babies can only focus on objects that are close-up, and they can only see high contrast colours such as black, white and red. At the six-month mark, however, visual acuity sharpens, so an optometrist visit is recommended to ensure the baby's eyes are developing normally and working together as a team. At the three- to four-year-old range, an appointment is recommended since the eyes have basically done their growing and developing by then. An exam prior to school is a must, too, since you cannot assume that school-offered vision screenings are enough.

What can be detected in an eye exam?

Children's eye exams can identify nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism - conditions that can easily be remedied with prescription glasses. An optometrist can also spot a condition commonly known as "lazy eye" (amblyopia in medical terms) very early in a child's life.

To highlight the importance of kids' eye tests, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has some interesting findings to report, such as:

  • There are more than 411,000 cases of long-term eye disorders in Australian children, the majority being long- and short-sightedness.
  • Approximately one in six 10- to 14-year-old children wear glasses or contact lenses to correct sight.
  • Eye disorders rank as one of the most common long-term health problems experienced by children, alongside allergies and asthma.
  • Around 420,000 general practitioner (family doctor) visits a year deal with kids' eye problems, the majority of which (62%) are for conjunctivitis infections.

Still need to get your child's eyes checked? Schedule a visit with your nearest VSP network optometrist today.

Reference List:

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2008) - https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/eye-health-australian-children/contents/summary

Optometry Australia - Good Vision for Life: How can parents help? - http://www.optometry.org.au/media/517052/how_parents_can_help.pdf