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Pediatric Eye Care & Eye Exams for Children

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus agree that all children should have their eyes examined by a pediatric or family doctor at birth and at all regular check-ups before school.

At the age of three to four, exams should include vision testing using acuity charts to help identify signs of eye problems in kids or a childhood eye disorder. If your child does have concerns, or symptoms of an eye disorder, your pediatrician or family medical doctor is a good identifier to determine if you need to see a pediatric ophthalmologist near you at Wolfe Eye Clinic.

Signs of Possible Eye Problems in Kids

If you notice any of the following eye symptoms and behaviors from your child, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist in Iowa at Wolfe Eye Clinic.

Lack of Eye Fixation in Baby
As a standard, your baby should be able to look at your face and follow your eyes as you move from side to side.

Misalignment of the Eyes in Infant
As early as two to three months after birth, a baby’s eyes should be aligned on interesting objects, near and far, left and right, and up and down.

Jerking Eye Movements in Infant
The eyes should have the ability to rest steadily without jerking side to side or up and down.

White Pupil
The pupil is the hole in the iris (colored part of the eye) through which light enters the back of the eye and the retina. Under normal conditions, the pupil should be black in an infant or baby.

Swelling Around the Eyelids
Lumps, changes in color or swelling around the eyes or lids can be caused by tumors or infections and should be consulted by a pediatric eye specialist near you.

Excess Tearing
Serious inflammations, blurry vision and nerve problems are possible reasons your child my experience excess tearing.

Drooping Lid
Abnormalities of the brain or tissue around the eye may cause one or both lids to droop or retract. Some children have drooping lid at birth, which may cause vision loss in an infant.

Squinting or Frequent Blinking
Partially closed eyelids may produce temporary improvement of some types of blurry or double vision. Frequent blinking may occur with eye inflammation or allergies or potentially with a
neurological disorder.

Irregular Pupil
Normal pupils should be round and reactive to bright light. Irregular pupils can be a sign of an eye problem in a child. The pupil is in the center of the colored part of your eye (iris) which allows light to enter the eye.

What to Expect During Your Child’s Eye Exam

Young girl holds phoropter machine during an eye exam with a pediatric specialist in Iowa.During your time at Wolfe Eye Clinic, you and your child will be treated with the utmost care and respect. Upon check-in, your child will undergo a variety of tests to ensure we get accurate measurements and views of their eyes. This may include dilation, which can take 30-60 minutes to take affect and it can sometimes take 8-12 hours to wear off. Your child will not be in any pain and we welcome any questions you may have for our pediatric eye care teams.

Common Pediatric Ophthalmology Tests

Visual Acuity Testing
Our pediatric ophthalmology teams will run a visual acuity test to determine the smallest letters your child can read on a standardized chart or a card held at a distance. This will be checked and is possible even in children who are not old enough to speak. For older children, picture charts, letter games and letter recognition can also be used.

Eye Alignment (Muscle Balance) Testing
Various methods are used by our pediatric eye specialists to test the alignment of the eyes and to make sure the muscles that move the eye are functioning normally. This may be done using light reflexes or alternately covering each eye to make sure that they do not move from the straight-ahead position.

Binocular Vision Testing
Binocular vision assessments diagnose and establish the ability to use both eyes together at the same time. These tests are used to make sure that the eyes are not only aligned correctly, but that the brain is using them together as well.

Refraction Testing
Refraction is used to measure the “power” of the eye. Our pediatric ophthalmologists will use this test to determine if your child is nearsighted, farsighted or has astigmatism. This can even be performed in infants when they cannot cooperate to tell us how well they are seeing. In young children, the focusing power of the eye must be eliminated to allow an accurate measurement. Therefore, drops are placed into the eye to dilate the pupil and eliminate their focus mechanism. These drops often take 30–60 minutes to work and may not fully wear off for 8–12 hours.

Fundus Examination
During a fundus examination, the examiner uses a special light, often worn on his or her head, to look into the back of your child’s eye. The retinal blood vessels and the optic nerve, an extension of the brain, can be seen. Because this is an area where blood vessels and portions of the brain can be seen, it is very valuable in helping to diagnose many disorders that can affect the entire body.

Once the testing is complete, you will meet with your pediatric doctor to review the findings and you will have opportunities to ask questions you might have about your child’s eyes. At the end of the examination your child may be prescribed glasses, or you may be asked to return for regular eye exams to your local optometrist or recommended to continue care with your Wolfe Eye Clinic pediatric ophthalmologist. Treatment for other problems may also be addressed and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.

The best pediatric ophthalmologists at Wolfe Eye Clinic are here to help ease your concerns and ensure your child continues to have the best vision possible in their growing day to day life. Wolfe Eye Clinic offers complete pediatric eye care in Ankeny and Des Moines areas. If you’d like to request information, fill out our form, or reach out to us at (833) 474-5850.