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Should My Child Be Examined?

It’s never too early to have your child’s vision examined by a pediatric ophthalmologist (medical eye doctor). The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus recommends that children receive their first eye exam at the age of 3, but if certain risk factors are present, your child may need to receive a more thorough medical examination. At Pediatric Eye Care of Maryland, we are equipped to examine children of any age and are experienced with providing infant eye examinations. Early detection is key to preventing long-term problems, so if you suspect your child is at risk, it is important to make an appointment with an experienced vision center that can handle the unique needs of children.

Our board certified pediatric ophthalmologists work alongside a skilled team of orthoptists, optometrists, and opticians who all have extensive experience working with children. Our offices are conveniently located in Clarksville, Baltimore, and Westminster and we offer night and weekend appointments to accommodate any schedule.

The question of when your child should receive their first eye examination depends on a number of factors, including:

Family history

If you have a history of vision problems that run in your family, your child may need to be examined by a qualified ophthalmologist. These problems include amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (misaligned eyes), retinoblastoma, infantile cataracts, or juvenile glaucoma. In addition, if any family members needed eyeglasses in early childhood due to farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism, it may be time to have them examined by an ophthalmologist.

Child’s health

Certain systemic health issues can cause vision problems and if your child experiences these underlying problems then they will require close attention and a thorough optical screening. Issues such as juvenile diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, premature birth, neurological and developmental delays (such as cerebral palsy and down syndrome), and the use of systemic medications such as steroids can all indicate that your child’s vision will need to be screened by a medical eye doctor. In addition, if your child has undergone a vision screening which showed abnormalities then a more thorough exam will need to be performed.

Signs and symptoms

If your child begins to exhibit any of these signs and symptoms of vision problems, be sure to schedule a thorough examination with a pediatric ophthalmologist as quickly as possible:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Poor tracking of the eyes
  • Frequent squinting
  • Unexplained clumsiness or headaches
  • Wandering or crossed eyes