Pediatric Eye Exams: What to Expect at Your Child’s First Exam

Eye examinations are an invaluable piece to your child’s overall health and wellbeing. At North Shore Eye Health and Wellness in Cedarburg, WI, we recommend that children receive their first eye exam between 6-12mos of age, then again at 2-3 years of age, and receive annual eye examinations while going to school.  Dr. Kyle Ross is a proud member of the InfantSEE program, a federally sponsored initiative to provide FREE eye health evaluation to infants between 6-12 months of age. These early eye examinations are key to detecting any potential issues that can impact the visual development of your child.  If your child is going to see an eye doctor, you might wonder what you should expect at their first eye exam. Here is a brief summary on what to expect at your child’s first, pediatric eye exam:


Eye Tests

Your child will have several different tests to see how healthy the eyes are. This will involve testing how well the child sees, determination of the power of the eye (refractive error), how the eyes are working together, and assessment of the internal and external structures of the eye.  Do not worry if your child is too young to recognize letters or even talk! Eye Doctors have many ways to assess how well a child can see. It is true that these tests may be daunting or intimidating to your child.  This is where going to a pediatric eye doctor can make all of the difference. You must choose an eye doctor that creates a comfortable and fun environment for the child, like we do at North Shore Eye Health & Wellness in Cedarburg, WI.


How Pediatric Eye Exams Get Done

The eye doctor will go over the health of your child as well as any activities they might be involved in. If there are any eye problems, parental concerns, or family history of eye disease, this is a perfect time to discuss them. The eye doctor and their technician will assist in some entrance testing and move on to assessing the power of the eye and your child’s ability to see.  From there, the eye doctor will look at the front of the child’s eyes using a microscope. This includes the cornea, eyelids, iris, sclera, pupil and the lens. Importantly, a child should have a dilated eye exam. This will involve the use of a medication (in the form of an eye drop) to widen the pupil of the eyes and relax the child’s focusing muscles. That way, the eye doctor can see the optic nerve and the retina, as well as be very accurate on assessing the power of the eye. While the eye drops might sting, it will only be for a moment. The dilation medication can last between 2 and 24 hours, depending on the type of medication ordered by your doctor.  Children will notice blurry vision at near and increased sensitivity to lights.  It is important to bring sunglasses with you to your appointment and to make any necessary arrangements with your child’s school.  Most children handle dilation better than adults!


Here at North Shore Eye Health & Wellness in Cedarburg, we offer the best Pediatric eye examinations, starting at 6 months of age.  Our office is also comfortable with the assessment and management of children with developmental disabilities and learning/behavioral disorders. If you are considering bringing your child in for their first eye exam, please contact us at (262) 421-4412 to learn more. 

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