When Should a Child Have Their First Eye Exam?

Are you a parent looking for the right time to take your child to the optometrist for the first time? Then you’re in the right place.

In this article, you’ll learn when a child should go to the eye doctor for the first time. Then, you’ll learn how to talk to your child about visiting the eye doctor and what they should expect during their visit.

Read on to discover the best age for their first eye exam.

When Should a Child Have Their First Eye Exam?

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that infants receive their first comprehensive eye exam at six months. This is an important milestone because it allows eye care professionals to check for potential eye problems or abnormalities affecting a child’s vision development.

Following the initial exam, the next comprehensive eye exam is suggested at around three years of age and just before starting school at around 5 or 6 years old. These early eye exams help identify any vision issues, such as refractive errors (e.g., nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) or eye conditions (e.g., lazy eye, crossed eyes) that may need treatment or intervention.

If a child has no apparent vision problems and passes their first few eye exams, it is generally recommended to have subsequent comprehensive eye exams every one to two years during childhood and adolescence.

What Are the Signs That Your Child Needs Their First Eye Exam?

Several signs may indicate a need for a child’s first eye exam. While it’s important to remember that not all signs necessarily mean a vision problem, they can indicate that further evaluation by an eye care professional is warranted. Some signs to look out for include:

Excessive Eye Rubbing

If you frequently observe your child rubbing their eyes, it could be a sign of eye strain or fatigue. They may be trying to alleviate discomfort caused by an underlying vision problem or eye condition. It can also respond to allergies or irritants, but it’s important to rule out any vision-related issues.


If your child frequently squints or tilts their head to see objects clearly, it suggests they may be trying to compensate for a refractive error.

Squinting can temporarily change the shape of the eye, allowing for clearer vision by adjusting the focus. This behavior is commonly observed in children with nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia).

Holding Objects Too Close or Too Far Away

Children with vision problems may exhibit an unusual distance when viewing objects. They might hold books, toys, or electronic devices too close to their face or, conversely, hold them far away.

This behavior indicates an attempt to achieve clearer focus or compensate for visual difficulties.

Abnormal Alignment or Movement of the Eyes

If your child’s eyes are not properly aligned, such as one eye turning inward, outward, upward, or downward, it could indicate strabismus.

If you observe this condition in your child, it’s important to seek the expertise of an Ogden optometrist who can provide a comprehensive evaluation and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Bright Futures Begin With Their First Eye Exam

Regular eye exams are important for all children, even if they don’t need glasses. Most doctors recommend scheduling a child’s first eye exam between 6 and 12 months.

Taking action now can help ensure good vision throughout a child’s life. Start scheduling that eye exam for children today for your peace of mind!

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