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Eye Exams for Children

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Children’s Eye Care Center in Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach

Children are not simply adults in a smaller size, and they require specialized eye care for kids. Our experienced and caring optometrists are experienced in treating children’s eyes. We will inspect and treat a wide range of child-specific vision conditions. Kids of all ages, from infants to teens, are welcome in our eye care centers in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach.

Why do I need to bring my child for a routine eye exam?

Many parents make the mistake of thinking that if their kid isn’t complaining, then there is no reason to visit our children’s eye care center. However, it is actually normal for kids to not complain – even if they can’t see the classroom board and the whole world looks fuzzy. Many children simply adapt to what they see, because they aren’t aware of what it should really look like. The problem is that if your child has an undetected vision condition, it could interfere with normal learning in school, child development, and sports performance.

My child passed the school vision testing. Do I still need to visit an eye doctor near me?

Yes. Even if your child passed a school vision test with flying colors, he or she still needs to be checked by a qualified eye doctor. While vision screening done by a school nurse can reliably indicate if your young student needs prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, it cannot identify the signs of other ocular problems. For example, your child may have an eye misalignment (strabismus), lazy eye (amblyopia), or trouble with focusing (accommodation). And these types of functional vision disorders require treatment other than prescription eyewear – such as patching or vision therapy.

When should I bring my child for a kids’ eye exam?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), the guidelines for eye care for kids are as follows:

  1. First exam: six months old
  2. Second exam: at 3 years old
  3. Third exam: prior to starting elementary school, around 5-6 years old
  4. Follow-up exams: if your child does not wear eyeglasses or contact lenses and has no pediatric risk factors, it is advised to visit our children’s eye care center every 2 years (at minimum). If your child requires vision therapy, vision correction or an alternative eye treatment, our eye doctor will provide personalized instructions on when to book eye exams.

What happens during an eye exam for kids?

In our Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach offices, we will design your child’s eye exam to be age-appropriate and consider any pediatric risk factors. That’s why it is essential to tell us about any family eye disease, health conditions, developmental delays, medications, previous eye trauma, or if your child was born prematurely. The more information that parents share with us, the better we can diagnose and treat problems. And no matter what diagnostic procedures we need to perform, we always treat kids with a friendly and gentle touch! All tests are quick and painless, and our eye doctors are fantastic with children.

To begin, we will evaluate visual acuity – checking for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. The results of these tests help determine if your child needs to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Learning in the classroom and playing on the sports field depend upon a range of additional visual skills, which we will assess. These include:

  • Accommodation: the ability to switch focus smoothly between near and far
  • Binocular vision: how the eyes work together as a team
  • Peripheral (side) vision
  • Color vision
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Tracking skills

Our eye doctor will also examine eye health by checking the area surrounding the eye and inside the eye. When necessary, we may administer dilating eye drops to obtain a clearer view of the retina and optic nerve.

Are there any warning signs that my kid needs an eye exam immediately?

We encourage parents and teachers to always be on the lookout for signs of a pediatric vision condition. This is the best way to help prevent children from struggling in school unnecessarily. In fact, it is not unusual for kids to be misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD or a behavioral problem, when an untreated vision condition is the root of the problem.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to book an eye exam at a children’s eye care center near me:

  • Wandering eye, or crossed eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Head tilting or turning
  • Squinting, or closing one eye to see
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Short attention span
  • Inability to hold a steady gaze
  • Avoidance of reading
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Poor tracking skills

We welcome you and your children to our Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach optometry practices. Our eye doctors aim to optimize kids’ vision in California’s South Bay with a positive experience, so they look forward to coming back for more eye care for kids!

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