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As per the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at six months of age. After that time, children should have routine eye exams at age 3 and then just before they enter kindergarten or first grade. If no vision problems are detected, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years. If correction is required, an eye exam should be performed annually.
Yes! School vision screenings are designed to catch major vision problems. Children can still pass a vision screening at school and still have vision problems that may affect their learning and school performance. A comprehensive exam performed by Dr. Oevermann can detect vision problems that a school screening may miss. Additionally, the comprehensive exam would include an overall evaluation of your child’s eye health, which is not a part of the school screening.
Physically, a child’s eye can handle contact lenses at a very young age. The important question to ask is whether or not your child is mature enough to insert, remove and take care of the contact lenses. A good indicator of maturity may be how they handle other responsibilities at home. If they handle things well and are responsible around the home, they may be a good candidate for contact lenses. However, if they need frequent reminders to perform every day chores, they may not yet be ready to handle the responsibility of wearing contact lenses.
An up-to-date pair of glasses are still required if your child chooses to wear contact lenses. Contact lenses should be removed at least an hour before bed to allow the eyes to “breathe”. Additionally, there may be times when your child doesn’t want to wear the contacts.
Ultimately, the decision to wear contacts should be your child’s choice and not yours. If you wear contact lenses yourself and love them, this does not mean it is the right choice for your child. Some children like wearing glasses and have no desire to wear contact lenses. It is usually just a matter of timing. We often see children that do not want to wear contact lenses and then a year or two later, they do. There’s always time to make the decision to wear contact lenses.