A complete eye exam includes several different tests of your child’s vision and an in-depth look at overall eye health.
The eye doctor will usually begin by asking the child or parent about the child’s medical history. If your child is preschool age or older, the doctor will use charts with shapes or letters to test visual acuity, which tells how well your child can see.
Other types of vision tests for color vision, stereopsis, visual tracking, and peripheral vision may also be used depending on your child’s age. Eye doctors will also use specialized equipment such as a retinoscope or refractor, and a slit lamp that allows the doctor to have in-depth look at your child’s eyes to figure out if there is a vision problem. The eye doctor may put drops in your child’s eyes to dilate his/her pupils to better examine the inside of the eyes.
Complete eye exams are performed by a professional eye doctor (an optometrist or ophthalmologist). Both have been trained to examine your child’s eyes and determine if there is a vision problem affecting his/her growth and ability to learn. It is best to have an eye doctor specifically trained to work with children, but many eye doctors will accept patients of all ages.
Vision screening is covered for every child under age 21 by AHCCCS (Medicaid); under age 19 by KidsCare, and most private insurance plans. Check with your insurance plan for information. Find more information here.