Ask an Optometrist. Things You Need to Know About Children’s Eye Exams

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It’s important that you are aware of the importance getting your children regular eye exams. Your child’s eye’s are the window to their world of learning. So Dr.Gideon K. Mincey, O.D was kind enough to answer some questions that I had.


What do you do differently for children during eye exams than adults?

When it comes to performing an eye exam on a child versus an adult there is not a big difference in what tests are performed. A Comprehensive Ocular Health and vision assessment on a child will consist of all of the tests and assessments of the visual system as an adult, visual acuity testing, examination of the external and internal structures of the eye.

Different types of instruments may be used on children to get the same diagnostic information and measurements as we would get from adults, i.e., pictures, and shapes, instead of letters, automated testing instruments that may not require a verbal response from a child.

More attention is paid to the areas that may have the ability to cause problems that can affect a child’s ability to learn. Those problems may range from seeing a blurred chalkboard to reading difficulties, poor concentration stemming from poor eye movement, focusing difficulties, eye coordination difficulties, ocular discomfort, etc.

It is very important to take the time to interact with children before the diagnostic testing begins you want them to be able to feel comfortable and relaxed so that they will respond to the tests with confidence and consistence, making their results more reliable.

I don’t wear my white lab jacket when seeing children for eye exams. I keep up with the most current children T.V. shows, movies, cartoons,, whatever they may be interested in, I pay attention to what they are wearing or what type of electric games that they may have brought to the office.


 How should a parent prepare their child for an eye exam if they are scared?

When children are scared about getting their eyes examined, parents should talk to them about how important the exam is and stress that there will be no needles or shots. The parents should have their eyes examined at the same time and should be seen ahead of the child so that the child could get an idea of what to expect. However the parents should man up when it’s time for the Dr. to instill eye drops for the dilation part of the exam. They should talk about the cool instruments that are will be used to test their vision and examine their eyes.


 How often should a parent be bringing in their child for regular eye exams?

Children should have their first eye exam as early as at the age of 4, providing that there were no prenatal problems like prematurity or early infant sickness, or complications at birth etc. Yearly examinations will ensure that if any vision problems may show up they will be picked up in a timely manner and treatment can be provided to prevent any threat of permanent loss of vision. Children are not aware of the fact that they may be seeing poorly.

What are some of the warning signs that a child is having eye problems?

Some of the warning signs that children exhibit when there is a vision problem are, Squinting, complaints of headaches, bumping into things, holding reading material very close to their face, poor grades, poor performance when playing sports like baseball and hockey, and tennis. If a parent is suspicious of their child having vision problems they should schedule an eye exam immediately. Playing a vision game with their children can give a parent a rough idea if their child is having any vision difficulties. It can be played anytime and anywhere, the parent should select an object that they can identify from a distance and ask the child if they can see it as well. Colors and size of the objects should differ as well as the distances from the objects.

Good ocular health is needed in order to have good vision, good vision is very important to be able to read, reading is essential to learning, learning is a fundamental of getting a good education, a good education the key to success.

I do have a patient that would be an excellent person to share their positive experience of getting an eye exam and needing glasses that helped them improve and exceed in their school work and appreciate the joy of reading books.



About Dr. Gideon K. Mincey, O.D. 

Dr.Gideon K. Mincey received his undergraduate at Clark Atlanta College. Atlanta, Ga. He received his Doctor of Optometry at Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia, Pa. His clinical history was at Clayton Eye Center Morrow,Ga, Center for the Visually Impaired and Blind & Low Vision Service Of North Ga. Dr Mincey also serve on the Board of Georgia Prevent Blindness and a member of Atlanta Montego Bay Sisters Health Mission.


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  1. I agree that it is important to take your children to the optometrist for regular eye exams. Neglecting to do so could result in one of your children having a vision problem that goes undiagnosed.

  2. If I saw even just one of these warning signs in my child, I would take them to an optometrist as soon as possible. After all, good sight can make a huge difference in the quality of their education, as you mention. Being able to see could be the difference between motivation in school or not!

  3. I had no idea that eye exams were different for children. I like the fact that you don’t wear your white lab-coat, and keep up to date with the latest children’s shows. I’m sure that helps put the kids at ease.


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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle. Buy me a coffee

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