Parents of infants are often in the pediatrician’s office for routine check-ups, vaccinations, and for the normal issues babies develop. But, when do they go to the eye doctor? Many parents overlook the need to have a doctor look at their infant’s eyes. That is a mistake. Parents should be just as concerned about their infant’s vision as they are about their health in general. This means that parents need to ensure they get their infants vision checked as soon as it is practical to do so. A child’s first eye examination should happen between the age of 6 to 12 months of age. It can happen earlier if your pediatrician thinks it is necessary.
Why should infants have eye exams?
When babies are born, their vision is not fully developed. While they can see, they don’t have the skills to focus their eyes, move their eyes to certain points, or use both eyes as a team. As infants learn to process the information the brain is receiving from the eyes, this continual flow of new information allows them to gain an understanding of the world around them. Visual input influences how an infant will interact with and react to their surroundings. Infants learn these interactive skills in the first months of life, much like walking and talking develop later. If a baby is having problems with their eyes or vision, these problems can cause developmental delays.
Detecting vision problems early will ensure the baby has the abilities they need to learn and grow at a normal pace.
What kinds of problems can an infant eye exam find?
The eye doctor is going to look for specific things during an infant eye exam:
Check for refractive issues like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Make sure both eyes are developing at the same pace. Sometimes one eye develops at a slower pace than the other.
Verify that eye movement is within normal limits.
Look for eye health problems like infections, blocked tear ducts, problems with eye muscle control, and light sensitivity.
By detecting and correcting problems as early as possible, you are keeping your baby on track to meet development milestones and to learn that the world is a beautiful place.
What can a parent do to monitor their infant’s eyes?
A parent is the first line of defense when it comes to detecting potential problems in their infants’ eyes. If you see any of these issues, talk with your pediatrician about seeing an infant eye doctor:
- Excessive tearing
- Red or encrusted eyelids
- Appearance of a white pupil
- Constant eye turning
- Extreme light sensitivity
Which doctor should you choose for an infant eye exam?
If your infant needs an eye exam, it is important to choose an eye doctor with training and experience in working with baby’s eyes. While the structures are the same between adult and infant eyes, the development of the eyes is different. An eye doctor experienced in infant eye exams can detect problems based on their experience and special training.
If you need to set an appointment for your infant, contact St. Luke Eye Institute. We are eye care and eyewear specialists serving Amarillo, Texas and the surrounding Texas Panhandle. You can call our office at (806) 359-3937 to set the appointment or stop by our office at 5311 Southwest 9th Avenue in Amarillo, Texas. If you have questions or need more information, click on “Contact Us” to send a message. Let us show you how you and your entire family, from infants to seniors and everyone in between, can start receiving the best eye care possible. Make that appointment today!