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At What Age Should Kids Start Getting Eye Exams?

As a new parent you have a checklist of all the wonderful and exciting ‘firsts’ you look forward to experiencing with your little one. It is common that you will include memorable events like the first trip to Disneyland, but unlikely that a trip to the optometrist office will make its way to the top 10 or share the same page on the notepad for that matter. You are not alone – routine eye exams for my 15-month-old son were not top of mind, until now.Learning of the benefits and timeline for children to receive eye exams through my employment at VSP Global has been truly eye-opening. Did you know that by age five all children should have completed three eye exams? Unfortunately 76 percent children are still not meeting that benchmark.Eye exams should take place at each of these milestones:

  • 6 Months Old: Infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age.
  • 3 Years Old: Following the initial exam in infancy, children then should receive an additional checkup at 3 years of age.
  • School Age Children: The next exam should occur at 5 years of age or before entering kindergarten and every year thereafter if no vision correction is required.

Please note: Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or according to their eye doctor’s recommendations.

There are many significant benefits to taking care of your child’s eyes early on. Need an easy way to remember the impacts? Let’s go back to the number one item on you ‘firsts’ list – a trip to the happiest place on earth. At Disneyland children under the age of seven may not ride alone, and should be accompanied by a person age 14 or over. While 7-years-old means a more independent experience at the popular theme park, something very significant happens with a child’s vision at this age as well. A child’s eyes will continue to develop until he or she reaches about 7 years of age. At this point, the eyes have reached full maturity and it is much more difficult to correct permanent vision problems that could have been avoided.

Currently, 1 in 4 children have an undetected vision problem and 20 percent struggle to read because of vision problems.

This fall we plan to take Alexander, my son, to meet Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom for his second birthday, but we have also planned an equally important trip to the optometrist the following year to make sure Mickey looks just as clear and magical at seven.

To learn more about when to take your child for an eye exam and tips on eye health for children visit: http://www.seemuchmore.com/get-your-kids-involved

This is a guest post by VSP employee, Yessenia A.

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