eye test for kids under 3I am often asked if it is possible to do an eye test for kids under 3 years of age. As a behavioural optometrist, I?ve done this many times, but the prospect of examining the eyes of a child under three years of age is daunting for many eye care practitioners.


Problems in Doing an Eye Test for kids under 3


One of the major problems you face when testing a very young child is that they do not know their letters, so establishing how well they can see has to be done differently. While there are different approaches to this, from a tumbling letter E to various forms of picture charts, I have designed a special chart using simple shapes which has proven to be an effective way of judging the singing ability of young children.


The next hurdle for an optometrist in an eye test for kids under 3 is that young children cannot judge differences with the same competency that older children or adults. For this reason it is impossible to do a standard test on a young child, asking them, ?Which is better, number one or number two??


While modern technology has provided instruments like autorefractors which can provide an estimate of a child?s prescription, most behavioural optometrist like myself prefer to use an old, hands-on method which gives us a unique opportunity to look at the focusing ability while we estimate prescription. This instrument is called a retinoscope, and while most optometrist know about it very few are able to use it effectively because they have very little practice! After seeing thousands of children almost daily for the last 20 years, I have definitely had my fair share of practice on this specialised instrument!


The third problem in doing an eye test for kids under 3 is the treatment becomes much more difficult. If glasses are required, we will often require specialised frames and lenses to do the job properly. My team and spend a lot of time researching and obtaining these specialised frames and lenses at inexpensive price for our patients.


I also have available and extensive array of vision therapy, which can be adapted for very young children and can help to overcome vision problems before they have a serious effect on learning. While this may be an easy thing for me to apply for even young children, it is because of years of experience and expertise but I?m able to do this. Conventional optometry can offer little for young children other than a pair of glasses, which commonly fits badly and is often easily broken.


If your child has never had an eye test or if you are concerned that they are delayed in their learning or other growth milestones, then it is possible to get an eye test for kids under 3 if you take your child to a behavioural optometrist who has specialised in taking care of children?s vision for decades.

eye test for childrenIf you have a child you may be looking for the best eye test for children in your area.? Before we consider this, we need to recognize that children are not miniature adults, but rather need to be tested with the right instruments in a way that is designed exclusively for their eyes, while it centers on how they use their eyes in the classroom.

Most Sunshine Coast optometrists are great at testing adults and looking for ocular disease, but an eye test for children is a completely different situation.? Kids don?t always process visual information the same as adults and their method of dealing with the pressure and stress on their vision is completely different, especially when we consider how much time they currently focus on near tasks like computers, tablets and smart phones!

The right eye test for children must include the standard tests like measuring their prescription (whether they are farsighted, nearsighted or have astigmatism) and their ocular health, but any eye test for children cannot stop there!

It is vitally important that children see a behavioural optometrist, and make sure that things like the focus, how the eyes team together, how they move across a page, convergence and 3-D perception are measured.? If the child has learning difficulties such as dyslexia, further tests can be done dealing with how the child takes in and processes the information they obtain via vision.? This includes visualization, direction skills, coding and sequencing.

This is why a behavioural optometrist like myself does more in an eye test for children than any other optometrist, and why I use not only special lenses, frames and glasses but also offer exclusive, specialized exercises called vision therapy to help them, which centers on learning.

So on the Sunshine Coast or anywhere else, the best eye test for children may not necessarily be the nearest!? My patients travel from far and wide to have their vision exam, because they know that I will work hard to offer them ways to treat their presenting problems, while helping them save money on the frames and glasses we offer. This is especially true for learning disabilities where I use special techniques that centers a child?s specific vision needs when learning, and also in myopia or short sightedness treatment, where keeping children out of full time glasses is a priority.

So if you care for your child, don?t just get a regular vision exam or check up!? Visit a family behavioural optometrist and get the best eye test for children in your area.