| 7.3°C Dublin

Sponsored feature: How often should my child's eyes be checked?

Early diagnosis and treatment of potential eye conditions is vitally important to the development of your child.

Good vision is very important to children because so much of what they learn is taken in through their eyes. So it's never too soon to start your child's eye care. Most infants and pre-school children should have regular vision screening as part of their routine developmental checks. These early checks are invaluable, but still aren't as thorough as a full eye examination by a qualified optometrist.

When your child is born, the pediatrician will check their vision when they are still in the hospital ward. A newborn's eye is about 75% of the size of an adult eye.

The ideal time to schedule your baby’s next eye exam is when they are approximately six months of age. The next time to take your child for an eye exam is when they are between two and a half and three years of age. When they start school, vision problems can often be mistaken for learning difficulties, so it is very important to identify any issues as early as possible. The optometrist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam and will test for visual acuity, excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. He will evaluate eye alignment, and examine how the eyes work together. The general health of your child’s eyes will be assessed as well. Vision problems are much easier to correct if they are detected early.

You should schedule regular eye exams for your child or teenager as eyesight can change until he is in his mid twenties.

Optometrists in Ireland have called on the HSE to introduce a free annual sight examination for all schoolchildren at their local optometrist. Currently all that is offered is a basic screening at school, which is done at the age of five or six. Sometimes, by the time a child is referred on for an appointment, the problem has become irreversible. The call came as part of ‘Bright Eyes Week’, which promotes eye health among school children.