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"When should I schedule an eye exam for my child?"
My son does not complain of eye problems, and his vision seems fine. But he's 11 and has never visited an eye doctor. Should I take him just in case there is a problem.
It is important for a child to get regular eye exams. The American Academy of Optometric Association recommends that children get a first comprehensive eye exam about 6 months of age, additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade at about 5 or 6 years old. Children who need glasses or contact lens should have their eye exams annually or as recommended by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Even though there is no vision correction is required, it is still recommended that a child has an eye exam every two years. Some problems, such as lazy eyes, are best treated if they are detected and treated as soon as possible while a child's vision still undergoes development and therefore is more responsive to treatments. I cannot emphasize enough that a timely eye evaluation is very important, because about 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. For these reasons, some states actually require mandatory eye exams for all children before they enter first grade. I would suggest that you schedule a visit with your pediatrician first to get eye evaluation for your child and then a referral to an optometrist for further evaluation if needed.
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