When Should I Take My Child For An Eye Check? ​

Vision Correction for Kids

Children’s visual development is a fascinating process that evolves significantly during their first years of life.  The critical period for visual development refers to a specific timeframe early in life when visual experiences play a crucial role in shaping visual pathways and visual ability. This period typically begins shortly after birth and extends into early childhood, roughly up to 7-8 years of age. Adequate visual stimulation and clear vision during this time are important for the development of visual ability. Early identification and management of issues such as refractive errors (the need for glasses), amblyopia (lazy eye), or strabismus (eye turn) can have a profound impact on long-term visual function.

When should you take your baby for an eye check?

During the first year of life, babies learn to coordinate their eye movements, perceive colours more distinctly, visual acuity improves allowing them to follow objects and reach for things they see. Depth perception and hand-eye coordination develop, as babies start to crawl and explore.  

If your child exhibits any of the following signs or symptoms during this period, it is advisable to schedule an eye exam with an eye care professional. 

  • One eye turning or misaligned 
  • Excessive tearing or sticky discharge 
  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact 
  • No red reflex (or a white pupil more noticeable on flash photography – without red eye reduction) 


What about Toddler/Preschool aged children?

In Australia, school vision screening programs are typically organized by state or territory health departments or education authorities and are generally conducted at schools, preschools, or community health centers. Children identified with potential vision problems during screening are typically referred for a comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.  

Things to consider for Primary School aged children

The prevalence of progressive myopia (nearsightedness that worsens over time) in children is rising globally. Progressive myopia can lead to serious sight threatening complications later in life. If your child exhibits any of the following signs or symptoms, it is advisable to schedule an eye exam with an eye care professional:  

  • Blurry vision or difficulty seeing distant objects clearly 
  • Squinting to see clearly when looking at objects far away 
  • If you notice your child sitting closer to the TV 
  • Headaches, eye strain or fatigue after activities that require distance vision such as watching TV or playing sport 
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes 
  • Holding objects close to see them clearly 
  • Sensitivity to light or glare 
  • Family history of myopia or high myopia may increase the risk of developing progressive myopia 

Ultimately, if you are concerned about your child’s eyes, speak to your doctor about scheduling an eye examination today.