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  Vision Screenings & Exams  

Vision screenings and exams should be a routine part of the health care a child receives.

Vision screenings

Vision screenings are a general check for eye or vision problems. Pediatricians, school nurses or others with specialized training may do screenings.

A screening can tell whether there might be an eye or vision problem. A screening can not tell for sure whether a problem exists. If a child does not pass a screening, he should have an eye exam.

Screenings Begin at Birth

When a baby is first born, he or she should be checked to see if they are healthy.

Vision screenings can be done for children as young as 3 months old.

It is recommended that a very basic eye exam be done on children beginning at 6 months of age. They should be done each year since vision problems can occur as children grow.

School Screenings

School screenings may find only 20 to 30 percent of vision problems in children.

If your child passes an eye screening, but you still think your child has an eye or vision problem, your child should have an eye exam by an eye doctor.

Vision Exams

No infant or child is too young for an eye exam by an eye doctor. Vision exams may take up to an hour to complete. An exam should check to see how clearly a child sees and how well the child is able to use his or her eyes.

  • What an exam checks for:
  • Signs of eye disease
  • The ability to see clearly at a distance and close-up
  • The ability of the eyes to focus when looking from near to far and from far to near
  • The ability of the eyes to work together to focus on things such as pictures and words
  • The ability of the eyes to move smoothly without any jerking movements
  • The ability to detect depth and color perception
  • Developmental vision exam

A development vision exam includes all the tests of a regular exam plus more tests. These tests check for such things as:

  • Blurred vision
  • Erratic eye movements
  • The ability to focus from far to near and far to near in a short amount of time
  • The ability to remember what is seen
  • The ability to correctly visualize a figure or picture
  • The ability to scan words or pictures

A list of the visual skills that should be included in this type of exam is given at eye exams at  A developmental exam may take as long as two hours. An optometrist specializing in childhood vision development can give this type of exam. A listing of these optometrists can be found at

Click for More Info!

For information about vision screenings, check out

Eye exams and glasses at
The American Academy of Ophthalmology policy statement on Vision screening for Infants and Children at
Consumer guide to eye exams at

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Date of Last Update: 07/27/12