Most people know that infants should have their first eye exam by an optometrist before their first birthday. A screening at a pediatrician’s office is NOT sufficient and misses many prescription and binocular vision issues. The best part? These eye exams are free of charge at West End Eye Care if performed before the child’s first birthday!

The question I get asked the most is: “What’s the point in an eye exam if they can’t verbalize what they read on an eye chart?”

Optometrists have means of accurately determining refractive error on any patient, including patients who cannot speak. This involves using something called a retinoscope and various lenses placed before the eye to determine the exact prescription. In addition to checking for high prescriptions and eye alignment issues, we dilate the baby’s pupils and use special lenses to look inside their eye at the retina, where many eye diseases go undiagnosed by pediatricians.

A doctor using a retinoscope to determine the patient’s prescription

Remember: whatever your child’s vision is, that is “normal” for them until they are made aware that their vision should be better. This is the flaw in waiting until the child complains before visiting an eye doctor; at that point, it is often too late to intervene and stop conditions like amblyopia and strabismus.

Make sure your child’s first year of life sets the stage for healthy development: get an eye exam by an optometrist!

-Dr. Montgomery

Dr. Canaan Montgomery is an Optometrist in Paducah, KY. As an eye doctor in Paducah, he sees pediatric patients beginning at age 6 months.