At What Age Should Child Start Seeing Optometrist?

Updated on July 23, 2010
M.B. asks from Phoenix, AZ
15 answers

Hi Ladies -

I have a 4 y/o daughter who, as far as we know, has perfect vision. My vision insurance is coming up for renewal and I haven't decided if whether I should enroll her in the plan or not. I'm thinking that perhaps she's too young to have her vision checked, but I believe in the saying that it's better to be safe than sorry. I did some research online and the information suggests taking her in before kindergarten. Although the schools do vision testing, it's pretty basic compared to what an optometrist will screen/check for. So I am just wondering at what age did other wise mamas start taking their kids in for yearly vision screenings.

Thanks in advance for your advice/suggestions.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the great responses! I've decided to add my daughter to the vision insurance plan and get her in to see an optometrist. While I didn't have to wear glasses until I was in my 20s, my husband has been wearing glasses since he was a young kid (he actually had lasik surgery in his late 20s). So to be on the safe side, I will have her vision checked by an optometrist.

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answers from Columbus on

My optometrist has said that 3 or so is good. If for nothing else then to get a baseline. If I remember correctly, if there are problems, they are pretty set by the time the child is 7-8. So, if there is a problem the earlier it's found the better the chance of correcting it. My 3 1/2 yr old daughter has an appt. Mon. with my dr.

ETA-I didn't read the responses before submitting. My 7 yr old just went a couple of weeks ago. Someone mentioned dilating the eyes. That's not done.

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answers from Tucson on

If I remember correctly, her regular pediatrician and/or (like in your case - her school) usually does the basic eye testing. If they see a problem in her vision, they will refer you to see an optometrist. Typically, basic medical insurance covers 1 annual check up with an optometrist. Additional - elective vision plans offered by your work are most useful for people who actually wear glasses/contacts or who have more serious vision problems because basic health insurance does not cover hardware or specialtists.


answers from Little Rock on

I would enroll her now because you will have to wait for at least another year until you can. You never know what could happen from now until thewn. I had my girls eyes checked at the ages of 2 and 4. They have ways to tell if they do even if they can not know there letters or can give them a staight answer.
So yes I would. I hoped this helped in some way



answers from Anchorage on

My youngest has an Auto-immune issue that puts him at risk for eye problems, so he goes every 3-6 months and has since he was 3. He has always done great with the exams. My oldest son started having yearly exams from age 4. I got my glasses at 15. I had never been to an eye doc before, and thought what I saw, and the headaches, were normal. It was not until I went in for my drivers permit that I discovered I needed glasses. Things would have been easier in school if I had known, so I decided I would not make my children wait, I would get them checked every year so we could catch any problems early on.



answers from Huntsville on

Her pediatrician should be checking her eyes with an eye chart. They checked my daughter's eyes & hearing at her 4 year checkup.


answers from Los Angeles on

I took my son in when he was a year old and plan to do it every year. It really depends on your family history. My family has every eye problem on earth so i took him in early. They already know he has astigmatism and are going to be watching it over the next few years to see if he will need glasses. Its all up to you. There is no real age that you have to bring them in. Follow your instinct its best in these situations.



answers from San Antonio on

You should go ahead and take her now. My 2 year old had/has strabismus or "lazy eye"...we could tell her eyes were not aligned and needed to be seen by a pediatric ophthalmologist..

I found out while doing research that sometimes the misalignment it so slight that parents don't catch it until their child's first vision exam in Kindergarten. By then the child could have already lost vision in one eye and have to work very hard to build the lazy eye back up with patching, etc etc

They suggest a basic vision check at like a year to 18 months. I had no idea. But better safe than sorry...



answers from Phoenix on

I got my first pair of eye glasses at 4. You could always take her into a America's best and ask if one of their dr's can check her eyes. They are rather cheap from what I remember.



answers from Phoenix on

At 4 years old, it would be good to get them checked. Even if she doesn't know her abc's they will use common shapes that she can name. I know I took my kids before kindergarten. Young kids don't always know when there is a vision problem to tell you about it. I have helped to do vision checks at the school and yes, they are more basic then the optomitrist, but we still check for color blindness, myopea ( I think it was called) and distance. I was amazed how many kids couldn't read the eye chart at 20 feet, and weren't wearing glasses. I'd take her in now so she realizes that it's not a scary process and make sure things are normal.


answers from Raleigh on

My mom (who is a RN) always said that until our doctor suggested we see one or we had a problem seeing, there was no need to see an optometrist. I feel the same way with my son. If he has any sort of eye problems that his doctor or I notice than we will make sure he goes, otherwise it is just an added extra cost. Why force her to have her eyes dilated if she isn't having problems? Good luck!



answers from Phoenix on

I think that before they start school they should see the eye doctor. I know the pediatricians offices do them, but honestly they are not very good at it. I've watched them numerous times with my kids and others and can see that they are not paying close attention. I think that unless there is a huge problem they mark them as normal.
Personally, I would put her on and have her eyes checked.



answers from Erie on

Our ped did a basic vision test, at age 4 or 5 for my son, he didn't do well the first time, and a year later they did it again and sent us on to a optometirst. andhe did end up wiht glasses.

A couple of ideas, we have a vision and blindness resource center in our area, that actually go around to some preschools and do basic testing, i bet if you called them you could bring her in and have it checked that way.

you might also beable to find directions online or something to print out and hold a certain distance away from her and check that way, not super accurate but could get you by for a while.

I don't handle our insurance, if this is something you can put off for just one year, i think i would wait to enroll her, if this is something that you either do now or miss out on for three years, i would enroll her. especially if mom and dad need corrective lenses. Just what i am seeing is that kids are being identified in kindg, maybe 2 of the 20 kids, then in first grade, 5 of 20 and by third grade more like half. this isn't super accurate but the chances of having perfect vision by the end of elementary school if both parents have glasses seems slim to me.
Call an eye dr and ask.



answers from St. Louis on

I took my daughter when she was 3 because she was getting ready to start preschool. I thought it was good time for her since she communicates well and knows her abc's and numbers.



answers from Phoenix on

My husband and I own a optometry practice that
sees the whole family including a specialization
in peds. It is important to have her eyes checked
yearly as kiddos don't know that their vision is
different than anyone elses. A dr's office and the school
does only a vision screening which misses 20% of
children with visual difficulties. Also considering that 80%
of a childs learning is visually related it is so very
important to do it early. We own a practice in Gilbert, Carlsson family eye center and we would love to have you as patients. Good luck ;)



answers from State College on

Growing up my regular doctor checked my eyes yearly with a chart, so pretty basic, but gave an idea of my vision. I think she also usually checked my eyes a little more. I didn't see an eye doctor until I was in high school and having trouble seeing the board in class sometimes. I think you could go either way and have them checked or wait if she is showing no problems and have her regular doctor and the school check them. If you have any history of eye problems then maybe it would be better to check them sooner.

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