Eye screening for children is also called an eye test, which is a brief exam that looks for potential vision problems and eye disorders in children. Vision screenings are often done by primary care providers as part of a child's regular checkup.
It is not possible to diagnose vision disorders with eye screening. Your or your child's provider will refer you to an eye care professional for diagnosis and treatment if a problem is discovered during a vision screening. This specialist will conduct a more in-depth eye examination. Corrective lenses, minor surgery, and other therapies can successfully address a wide range of vision issues and illnesses.
A variety of tests can be used to screen children's vision. External inspection of the eyes, red reflex testing, corneal light reflex testing, and testing of visual acuity with pictures or letters are some of the tests performed in primary care. Other tests can be carried out using more specialist equipment (autorefractors and photo screeners).
A newborn's eyes should be examined by a doctor or other skilled health practitioner to check for basic signs of eye health. Testing for the following things could be part of it:
An ophthalmologist should do a comprehensive exam if the baby is:
6 to 12 months
During the first year of a child's life, a second screening should be performed. This test is normally done between the ages of 6 and 12 months during a well-child exam. The pediatrician or other health care provider for your child should:
12 to 36 months
A child's eye development is examined between the ages of 12 and 36 months. A "photo screening" test may be conducted. Your child's eyes are photographed using a special camera. These images aid in the detection of issues that may lead to amblyopia (lazy eye). Your youngster may be referred to an ophthalmologist if they see trouble.
3 to 5 years
A child's vision and eye alignment should be evaluated between the ages of 3 and 5. When a child is old enough to read an eye chart, his or her visual acuity should be examined. Many children are hyperopic (farsighted), but they can see even at a distance. The majority of children will not need glasses or other forms of vision correction. Photoscreening may be used to test vision if the youngster has difficulty with the eye chart.
5 year and older
Children should be checked for visual acuity and alignment at the age of five. The most common ailment in this age group is nearsightedness (myopia). Eyeglasses are used to remedy it. A child with misaligned eyes or evidence of additional eye issues should see an ophthalmologist. Before and throughout treatment with growth hormone therapy, children should have their eyes checked.
Vision screening in children has a great potential benefit: it can help avoid permanent vision loss by detecting and treating vision disorders before the window of visual development closes. There is sufficient evidence that vision screening in children aged 3 to 5 years improves visual acuity by detecting amblyopia or associated risk factors (strabismus, anisometropia).
Potential harms include false-positive test results, which can lead to unnecessary treatments like wearing glasses or an eye patch when they aren't required. In most cases, these treatments do not damage vision in "healthy" eyes, but they can induce psychological distress. Overall, the risk of injury is anticipated to be minimal. There isn't enough information on the benefits vs. dangers for children under the age of three.