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Don’t wait for your child to complain of a vision problem!

For most children, they won’t complain.

When a child is diagnosed with a vision problem, I often have parents ask me “Why didn’t my child complain about this?”

The reality is that many children don’t complain about vision problems, because they don’t know what they don’t know. Think of it this way:

  • If your child was born deaf, would they tell you that they can’t hear?
  • If your child was born with a heart defect, would they tell you that they don’t feel good?

If the child doesn’t know any different and thinks that this is normal, they won’t know to complain. Just last week, I saw a 13-year-old boy for his first eye exam. He was completely colorblind. Neither he nor his parents knew. The boy thought nothing of it because he thought everyone saw the same as him, so he had never mentioned it to his parents (and why would he?). While color vision is only important for career choices (no commercial pilot’s license!), think of all the other serious vision problems that a child might have that they don’t complain about!

What can parents do?

As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to make sure they have regular eye exams starting at a young age. Most vision problems are correctable if they are caught early. (Unfortunately for the 13-year-old, colorblindness is not correctable.)

We recommend the first eye exam to be at 6 months of age, which can be conducted at no charge through the InfantSEE program. As long as everything looks good, we then recommend the next exam to be at approximately age 3. Once again, as long as everything appears normal, then the next exam should be at age 5 or before they start kindergarten. Then every year afterward.

If a child has never had their vision checked, or a problem is suspected, we are able to check them at any age or any time.

What if my child’s vision was checked at the pediatrician’s office?

Parents need to keep in mind that a vision screening at school or the pediatrician’s office is not the same as a comprehensive eye examination with an optometrist, and it should not be a substitute.


Top image by Pixabay on Pexels (location) used under Creative Commons Zero (CCO) License. Image has been cropped and modified from original. Image rights state commercial use and modifications allowed when image was obtained on 09/25/2018.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.