Thanks to improvements in technology over the last 20 years, we can now detect many eye and vision problems in the first months and years of life. A complete eye and vision exam can detect anything from blurred vision in an infant to astigmatism in a third grader.
Unfortunately, infants and small children don’t often recognize their own vision problems, and may not complain to parents or teachers. Vision checks at the pediatrician’s office and school screenings, even if conducted by an eye doctor, are not a substitute for a complete evaluation in an eye doctor’s office.
When should your child have an eye exam?
Early and often. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have their first complete vision evaluation before they are six months old, and again at ages 3 and 5.
We offer vision therapy for all ages, and it can be especially useful for children whose eyes are still developing. The goal of vision therapy is to teach or reinforce vision in children, to improve overall vision, and to relieve symptoms such as lazy eye or problems focusing through a number of eye exercises.
Helping infants see
When planning your “well baby” checkups, don’t forget about your baby’s eyes. All of our eye care clinics participate in the American Optometric Association’s InfantSEE public health initiative, offering free eye assessments for children under one year of age. Our doctors have methods to assess vision and eye health in infants who are just days old.
Dr. Otte was fantastic with my 3 small children. Ask for the interns to play videos in the background for kids—helps them look at something.
Atwater Eye Care Center patient
What to expect at a pediatric eye exam
We begin the exam by covering one of your child’s eyes and asking questions about what they can see up close and across the room. We will then check your child’s eye alignment, focusing system, and glasses prescription.
Next, we will use eye drops to dilate your child’s pupils. This will sting for a few seconds, but shouldn’t hurt. After a few minutes, we will look at the inside of your child’s eyes.
Your child’s eyes will be sensitive to light and up close vision may be blurry for a few hours after the exam. We provide disposable sunglasses at the end of the appointment.
Your child’s appointment
You can make an appointment for a pediatric eye exam at either of our eye care clinics in Bloomington or Indianapolis.
Preparing your child for what an eye exam will be like is a great way to ease any fears or anxieties. Prior to the appointment, have your child watch our video about getting an eye exam. The video will give your child the opportunity to see our equipment and what to expect during the appointment.
We also recommend bringing a list of any medications your child is currently taking (prescription or over-the-counter).
Where to park
If you are visiting us in Bloomington, you will park in the lot behind the building on Atwater Avenue, in one of the spaces marked “Reserved.” You will need to register your vehicle at the front desk when you sign in. Get directions to the Bloomington clinic.
If you visiting us in Indianapolis, you will park in the lot next to the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute. The Indianapolis Eye Care Center is located on Michigan Street on the IUPUI Campus. Get directions to the Indianapolis clinic.
Clear the day
Your child’s eyes will be sensitive to light for a few hours after the exam. For some patients, reading vision will be blurred for a few hours after the dilating drops are applied. We recommend clearing your child’s schedule for several hours after their eye exam.