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Pediatric Eye Exam Q&A with Dr. Dang

Q: Why is it important for children to have their eyes examined?

Dr. Dang: To ensure that their eyes are healthy and properly functioning. Good vision requires optimal vision during development. Learning is important for a child and good vision is major and important factor in this process.

Q: At what age should a child have his or her first eye doctor’s appointment?

Dr. Dang: According to the American Optometric Association, infants should have their first comprehensive eye examination at 6 months old, have an additional eye examination at age 3, and then another comprehensive eye exam just before they enter first grade. In addition, all children have their eye health and vision screened at their pediatrician’s office, and are referred to a specialist if deemed appropriate. There are pediatric optometrists and ophthalmologists. Understanding the difference and choosing the proper specialist for a child is important; at TSO Shadowcreek, we are always ready, willing and able to help patients of all ages find the appropriate care.

Q: How often do you recommend children come in for a routine eye exam? Are there any signs that a child should have his or her eyes checked?

Dr. Dang: Children should have their eyes examined once a year, potentially more frequently if their eye doctor determines that more frequent or more advanced examinations are necessary. The following are signs that a child may have a vision problem: frequent eye rubbing or blinking, short attention span, avoiding reading and other close activities, frequent headaches, covering one eye, tilting the head to one side, holding reading materials close to the face, have one eye turning in or out, seeing double, and losing place when reading. Please discuss these issues with your friendly eye doctor at your next visit.

Q: What can a child/parent expect during a pediatric eye exam?

Dr. Dang: A comprehensive eye examination, even for a child, is extensive and can be lengthy. Parents can expect it to be at least 1 hour long. In my professional opinion, I would determine that the most difficult part the examination for a child is the dilation drops. Dilation of the eyes is needed to examine the inside of the eye, and to accurately measure a child’s vision. At TSO Shadowcreek, we do everything in our creative ability to make the process as comfortable as possible.

Q: What do you look for in during a pediatric eye exam?

Dr. Dang: I look at the overall health of the child’s eye. I pay particular attention to whether all the anatomy within the eye is normal and functioning properly. I measure the child’s vision in each eye, and the visual functioning of both eyes together including the ability to focus up close. I am always happy to discuss methodologies with parents before and during a visit.

Q: What is your busiest time of year for eye exams for kids?

Dr. Dang: The busiest time of the year for children eye examinations is the period from the third of week of July through and until the third week of September. I personally recommend parents to bring their child or children to my office before then. June to early July is great. There are no back to school crowds. That being said, it is a good practice to have your child’s eyes examined prior to the start of the new school year.