Healthy eyes and vision are a critical part of kids' development. Their eyes should be examined regularly, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early.
Be sure to make vision care and eye checks a part of your child's routine medical care.
Different kinds of doctors offer eye care, and the names can be confusing:
Routine medical exams for kids' vision include:
Signs that a child may have vision problems include:
In school-age children, other signs to watch for include:
Watch your child for signs of poor vision or crossed eyes. If you notice any eye problems, have your child examined right away so that the problem doesn't become permanent. If caught early, eye conditions often can be corrected.
Several eye conditions can affect kids. Most are detected by a vision screening using an acuity chart during the preschool years.
Other eye conditions need immediate attention, such as retinopathy of prematurity (a disease that affects the eyes of premature babies) and those associated with a family history, including:
Be sure to talk to your doctor if your child is at risk for any of these conditions.
Kids of all ages — even babies — can wear glasses and contacts.
Keep these tips in mind for kids who wear glasses:
Babies born with congenital cataracts may need to have the cataracts surgically removed during the first few weeks of life. Some wear contact lenses after cataract surgery.
Around age 10, kids may want to get contact lenses for cosmetic reasons or if they play sports. To wear contacts, a child will need to know how to insert and remove lenses properly, take them out as required, and clean them as recommended by the doctor. Contact lens problems are almost always due to poor habits and bad hygiene.
Your eye doctor can help you decide what type of vision correction is best for your child.
Reviewed by: Jonathan H. Salvin, MD
Date reviewed: June 2014
|American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus This organization provides vision information and resources.|
|Prevent Blindness America This website offers information, resources, vision tests, volunteer opportunities, and more.|
|EyeCare America EyeCare America is a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology that works to raise awareness about eye disease and care, provide free eye health educational materials, and facilitate access to medical eye care.|
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|Retinopathy of Prematurity Retinopathy of prematurity, which mostly occurs in premature babies, is a disease that causes abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina. Sometimes surgery is needed to prevent vision loss or blindness.|
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|Seeing Your Way Through Strabismus Strabismus is when someone's eyes don't look straight ahead. It might look as if the person has one crossed eye. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Strabismus Strabismus causes eyes to wander or cross. Treatment may include glasses, patches, eye drops, or surgery.|
|Blindness Kids who can't see, or can't see well, learn to live without using their eyes. To learn more about visual impairment and what causes it, read our article for kids.|
|Vision Facts and Myths Old wives' tales abound about the eyes. From watching TV to eating carrots, here's the lowdown on some vision facts and fiction.|
|Visual Impairment When one or more parts of the eye or brain that are needed to process images become diseased or damaged, severe or total loss of vision can occur. Read all about visual impairment.|
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