When should a child be examined by an eye care professional for the first time?
The first screening examinations are performed by the neonatologist or the pediatrician. They are routine and for orientation purposes.
The doctor pays attention to the position of the eyes, the condition of the appendages of the eyes (e.g. eyelids, nasolacrimal duct, etc.), pupils and their reaction to light (the red reflex of the eye ground is normal), etc.
When are additional tests necessary?
If the visual acuity is decreased;
If the pupillary light reflex does not seem normal;
If the vision in both eyes is different;
If the eyes are not in a parallel position to one another;
If eye movement is limited or atypical;
If the family has a history of eye disorders.
A changed pupillary light reflex can direct to pathological changes in the eye structure. For instance, a white pupil reflex can be a result of an innate clouding (cataract) or more rarely an intraocular tumor. An unclear reflex is linked to refraction anomalies (need of glasses) and so on and so forth. Every deviation from the norm should be consulted with a pediatric ophthalmologist for accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
The first visual acuity tests should be performed around the third year of age. Different visual acuity tables are used, image tables for toddlers and tables with other symbols, such as letters, numbers or an “E” turned round in different directions for the older ones (3 years of age and older). Such screening is one of the most effective ways to find any problems in children’s eyes.