"A person's a person, no matter how small." —Dr. Seuss, in Horton Hears a Who!
In many ways, it’s more important for kids to get proper vision care than it is for adults. We use our eyes to get around, to read the news, and to do our jobs. But kids need their eyesight to ensure proper development, and parents don’t always notice the signs of visual impairment right away. Enlisting the help of an eye doctor and a family vision insurance policy is a smart move.
Children should have eye exams when they begin preschool and kindergarten.
When does my child first need to see an eye doctor?
It should happen at 6 months. Yes, you read that right—the American Optometric Association suggests your baby first see an eye doctor at 6 months of age. Here’s what they’ll check for:
- Eye movement
- General eye health
There’s a great program called InfantSEE® that can provide you with a free eye exam for an infant less than one year old, no matter your income level. But it’s a one-time only program—it doesn’t have the funds to provide more than one free exam per child.
How often should I take my child to the eye doctor?
After the 6-month exam, there are a couple more recommended checkpoints for your child:
- Begin pre-school (age 3)
- Estimate: 1 in 20 preschoolers have vision problems
- Begin kindergarten (age 5)
- Estimate: 1 in 4 children has a vision problem
- Yearly basis after starting school
- Catch vision problems such as nearsightedness early
- Make sure your child can read blackboards and projector screens easily
How can vision insurance help?
Your child's yearly eye exam will be covered by most insurance plans.
Most vision insurance plans will pay for a yearly eye exam for everyone covered. You’ll be able to take your child to the eye doctor without spending more than a co-pay.
If your child needs glasses, vision insurance will cover all or part of your child’s frames and lenses. Many plans will cover the entire cost of corrective lenses (barring upgrades like tinted lenses or scratch-resistant lens coating).
Vision First Foundation: Vision and Children
American Optometric Association: Infant Vision