When Should My Child Get an Eye Exam?

a male child getting an eye exam

Most parents are diligent about caring for their child’s health. However, many overlook the importance of eye exams or aren’t fully aware of when their child should see an eye doctor. This is especially true with younger children who aren’t yet in school or reading.  

But even if your child is too young to read an eye chart, that doesn’t mean you should forgo regular eye exams. If you are wondering when you should bring your child in for an appointment, here’s what you need to know.  

When Your Child Should Get Their First Eye Exam  

While most pediatricians check your child’s eyes on a basic level, their exams aren’t as comprehensive as what your child receives from an eye doctor. Ideally, your child should come in for their first official eye exam when they are six months to one year old. This creates an opportunity for certain issues or anomalies to be spotted early, making treatment simpler and more effective.  

When Your Child Should Come in Again for an Eye Exam  

After an initial exam, many children won’t need a second one until they begin kindergarten. It’s wise to have their vision checked at that time, ensuring they can see clearly when they start attending school.  

However, if your child is exhibiting any signs of a vision problem, it’s best to come in earlier. This could include squinting, issues with headaches, holding items closer to the face than usual, and more.  

Additionally, if there’s any evidence of an abnormality, it’s wise to schedule an appointment immediately. Issues like strabismus or lazy eye – where eyes are crossed, turned, or otherwise misaligned – are often fairly apparent.  

It’s also wise to bring children in more often if there is a family history of certain eye issues. This can include eye conditions like those above and early development of near- or farsightedness.  

How often they need to come in for appointments after that can vary. For children without vision issues, a history of eye problems in the family, and no symptoms of vision challenges, an eye exam every two years may be enough. If your child requires vision correction or there’s a family history of eye conditions, then once a year is wise.  

However, it’s also crucial to bring your child in immediately if they are exhibiting symptoms that could indicate an eye or vision condition. This can include changes in how they act or interact with objects, trouble reading, a sudden decline in their grades, coordination challenges, and more.  

As with adults, early intervention is the key to eye health. Plus, by seeing your eye doctor regularly, you can make sure your child’s vision is sharp, ensuring they can learn, participate in activities, and otherwise have a fantastic childhood.  

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health of our patients. If your child hasn’t had an eye exam recently, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

What Are the Types of Glaucoma?

a close up of a female having her eyes examined

January is Glaucoma Awareness month, a time of year where we take a close look at the condition and focus on sharing information to help patients maintain their eye health. While we covered the basics in a recent article – Understanding Glaucoma – we wanted to seize this opportunity to take a deeper dive into the topic.  

Glaucoma is often thought of as a single eye condition. However, there is more than one type of glaucoma, each with its own unique characteristics.  

If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it’s wise to explore more about your specific variant. That way, you won’t just know more about how the condition is impacting your eye health, but also how the treatment options and outcomes can differ.  

Here’s a look at each of the types of glaucoma, including their characteristics, treatment options, and more.  

Open-Angle Glaucoma  

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the condition. With open-angle glaucoma, the angle between the cornea and the iris is wide and open, essentially the way it is meant to be. Issues arise when the drainage canals become blocked, preventing proper fluid flow and leading to fluid accumulation.  

As the fluid builds up, the pressure increases. That pressure ultimately causes damage to the optic nerve, disrupting vision signals between the eye and the brain.  

Many people with open-angle glaucoma are initially unaware they have the condition. The fluid buildup usually happens slowly over time and doesn’t typically result in physical discomfort. Typically, people with open-angle glaucoma only become aware once they begin experiencing vision loss unless it is caught earlier during a standard eye exam.  

Open-angle glaucoma can lead to significant vision loss, up to blindness. With proper treatment, damage can be mitigated or slowed, potentially preserving your vision. However, there is no cure for any form of glaucoma, including open-angle.  

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma  

Angle-closure glaucoma is also the result of fluid buildup. However, fluid flow is disrupted due to the narrowing of the entrance points of the drainage canals. At times, those openings are simply too small to allow for proper fluid flow. However, they can also be shut entirely, either by design or due to clogging.  

With angle-closure glaucoma, symptoms typically appear quickly. Along with vision loss, eye pain, headaches, and nausea commonly occur. There may also be eye redness as well as a halo effect around lights.   

Angle-closure glaucoma causes vision loss and may lead to blindness. It is also considered a medical emergency. As with open-angle glaucoma, there isn’t a cure. Though, with quick treatment, it’s possible to reduce the harmful effects of the condition.  

Normal-Tension Glaucoma  

With normal-tension glaucoma, pressure isn’t the issue, though optic nerve damage still occurs, resulting in vision changes or loss. In some cases, trauma may be to blame. In others, it could be heightened optic nerve sensitivity, blood flow issues, or circulation impairments.  

Normal-tension glaucoma, like the other versions, also can’t be cured. However, it can be managed, especially if caught early.  

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health of our patients. If you haven’t had your eyes checked recently or are experiencing symptoms of glaucoma, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.