You know when your baby needs what shots and when, but do you know when he or she needs what eye screenings and when? As you watch your baby grow, tracking the health and development of his or her senses is just as important as measuring weight and height. But do know how to go about checking a baby’s eyesight?
You should be taking your baby for an eye screening at least once a year until they reach 5 years of age. If ocular history remains healthy, your child can then receive screenings every 2 years. But what exactly should the screenings test and when?
Here are the vision screenings according to age as they are recommended by the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.
Newborns to 12 month-olds should have the following checked during an eye screening: ocular history, vision and ocular motility assessment, external inspection of the eyes and lids, and examination of the pupil and red reflex. Once babies reach 12 to 36 months, they should have all of the previous assessments and examinations each year as well as a visual acuity test, a photoscreening (objective screening device) and an ophthalmoscopy.
At each screening, you’ll want to make sure your child is passing the proper visual acuity thresholds. Ages 36 to 47 months should be able to correctly identify most of the optotypes on the 20/50 line. While ages 48 to 59 months should be able to correctly identify most of the optotypes on the 20/40 line. Children 5 years and older should pass visual acuity tests correctly identifying a majority of the optotypes on the 20/32 line.
Refer your child to a ophthalmologist if there are signs of abnormal red reflex or if their is a history of retinoblastoma in the family. Other referral criteria includes chronic tearing, discharge, or strabismus.
Staying on top of eye screenings will ensure your child is never held back by visual issues or poor eyesight. Don’t forget to make sure your child’s eyes are protected from the sun. Learn about the ages and stages of proper UV protection here.