A little girl smiling during her first eye exam-2 Hero

When Should a Child Have Their First Eye Exam

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Have you ever seen one of those cute pictures of babies wearing glasses?

Those glasses aren’t always photo props. Unless they’re accompanied by a Groucho Marx mustache, they’re likely real!

There are times when small children really need vision support, and identifying those needs starts with an eye exam. So when should parents book that first appointment?

Let’s take a look (pun intended).

Your Child Should Have Their First Eye Exam at Six Months Old

Most children should have their first complete eye exam at six months old. While this may seem pretty early, it’s so important to have a head start on testing for and treating vision challenges. After that, your child should have a follow-up exam at around three years of age, and then another when they start first grade.

Once children are in school, it’s best to schedule their eye exams every two years. However, it may be necessary to schedule more frequent exams if your child’s eye doctor discovers vision problems. Among these issues are:


Astigmatism affects the ability to see objects clearly at near and far distances. It occurs when the cornea or lens of the eye is abnormally shaped, resulting in near- or far-sightedness in one or both eyes.


Also known as ‘lazy eye,’ amblyopia is a condition where one eye experiences abnormal visual development. Characterized by a weaker eye that often wanders, it usually develops between birth and seven years of age. 


When your child has myopia (nearsightedness), he or she is able to see close-up, but has difficulty seeing faraway objects. Approximately 20% of children have myopia or other refractive errors.


Strabismus occurs when the eyes do not align properly. It can cause one or both eyes to turn in different directions, which is one of the reasons why it’s also known as ‘crossed eyes.’

While the above list includes some of the most common eye issues in children, there are many other complications that can also occur. Early eye examinations, followed by routine checkups, can nip these problems in the bud.

How Early Eye Exams Benefit Children

According to the American Optometric Association, vision disorders may affect learning and quality of life in as many as 10% of preschoolers and 25% of school-age children. Many of these conditions are obvious, but some are easily misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as ADHD or dyslexia

When children receive regular eye exams, they are less likely to have misdiagnoses and can receive the kind of care they need to thrive in school, in sports, and on the playground. 

Parents and their kid have fun during their daughter first eye exam

We’d Love to Do Your Child’s First Eye Exam!

The sooner your child’s vision is assessed, the better you can protect them from the difficulties of common sight problems. Maintaining healthy eyesight will also allow them to grow up with better opportunities and fewer risks. 

At Belle Vue Speciality Eye Care, we LOVE helping younger patients get started on the right path to optimal vision health. For more information or to schedule an appointment for your child’s first eye exam, please call (601) 475-2020.  Come SEE the difference.  

Written by Megan Lott

Dr. Megan Sumrall Lott is a functional optometrist who practices in Hattiesburg, MS. She is a 2006 graduate of Southern College of Optometry. She began practicing optometry by providing primary eyecare at Lexington Eye Care in Lexington, MS. After providing vision therapy to her 9 month old son to correct an eye turn, Dr. Lott realized she had found her passion in functional optometry.
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