Children’s Vision

Anthony Liska, Optometrist children's eye tests
Anthony Liska, Optometrist children’s eye tests

Children often do not know if their vision is normal or if they have a vision problem. If they do not complain about a vision problem it does not mean that everything is alright.

It is a good idea to test children’s eyes at age 3 or 4, and again at age 5 or 6. After this children should have their eyes examined every two years just like adults. You should act on the advice of your optometrist if more frequent examinations are required.

Optometrists have different charts and different techniques to test childrens’ eyes, as children of this age are too young to make choices about which lens is better and often cannot read letters on a chart.

Vision screenings performed at school will detect significant problems like lazy eyes, but they will not detect longsightedness or eye alignment problems. These can affect near vision and visual development. Also, school screenings do not look for eye disease. This is why a full eye examination is required to ensure good visual function for children.

Common Vision Problems in Children:

  • Lazy Eye (Amblyopia): vision below normal value even with glasses
  • Turned Eye (Strabismus): one eye looks in a different direction to the other. This can cause lazy eye.
  • Eye Misalignment: Tendency of the eyes to turn in or out causing difficulty with maintaining correct eye alignment. Can cause problems with reading and focussing and lead to turned eye in some cases.
  • Poor Focussing (Accommodation): inability to focus correctly on object such as book. Often associated with eye misalignment
  • Poor Depth Perception (stereopsis): often associated with lazy eyes, turned eyes, and eye misalignment. Measuring stereopsis is a good way to test if there is anything else wrong.
  • Colour Vision Defect: often gets detected in childhood.