Infants are monitored with many doctor’s appointments as they develop. An eye doctor appointment is a vital component of a growing child’s health maintenance. The youngest that most optometrists will see an infant for a routine eye health examination is 6 months old.
Between the age of 6 months and one year, an infant should have an eye health examination to rule out eye diseases and make sure that there are no problems that can impede proper eye development. Finding a provider to see an infant under one year old who is comfortable with these young children’s examinations is important and will facilitate the best experience.
When to Schedule an Eye Doctor Appointment
As your infant grows, routine health physicals at the primary care doctor or pediatrician are common at one, two, four, six, and twelve months.
If there is a problem noted or concern, the pediatrician will refer to an optometrist for further evaluation of the eyes.
If there are no problems or concerns with the eyes or vision, then the first eye examination at an eye doctor’s office is typically scheduled after the infant is six months old but not yet a year old.
Depending on how far out the eye doctor is scheduling new patients, this appointment should be made between a week and a month before the desired visit date.
What Type of Infant Eye Exam is Needed?
An infant’s eye examination will look very different than that of an adult. In an eye examination of an infant, all of the tests are based on objective findings and observations rather than subjective responses or answering questions.
While a parent will be asked various questions pertaining to the health history, the actual exam will be nearly entirely based on the doctor’s observations during the testing.
While the methods are different than that of an adult eye exam, the basic parts of the examination are the same.
Vision will be checked to the level that is developmentally appropriate, the alignment of the eyes and eye teaming will be evaluated, an estimate of the refractive error or prescription of the eyes will be made, and the eye health will be examined in both the front and the back of the eye.
How to Find an Eye Doctor for Your Infant
While finding an eye doctor for an older child or adult can be as simple as selecting the office that is closest or most convenient, selecting an eye doctor to examine an infant may take slightly more thought and research.
Any optometrist is qualified and capable of examining an infant, but many doctors prefer not to see these young children since the exams are quite different that of an adult and may require additional equipment that is not available.
To find a doctor who is able to see your infant, you can always call the office or check online to see if there is a provider who sees infants.
If you are unable to find a provider, there is a national program called InfantSee which has a registry of the many providers who will see these infants under one-year-old.