Crawling, cooing, enjoying solid foods...these are all milestones that you watch for when assessing the development of your baby. Your baby's vision has developmental milestones as well, and it is super important to make sure that your baby is hitting those. The greatest amount of visual growth and processing occurs in the first year of life!
Along with the American Optometric Association (AOA), we recommend that your baby have their first comprehensive eye assessment between six and 12 months of age. As InfantSEE providers, we perform an eye health and vision examination for your baby at no cost to you. This fantastic public health program, funded by Optometry Cares, allows us to catch eye issues that may be missed otherwise. A trip to your pediatrician is not enough to detect many of the eye conditions that we are able to find during our exams.
I know what you're thinking...how on Earth do we expect to examine the eyes of your squirmy, sleeping nine month old? It's simple! Unlike the complicated instruments we use during your exam, the infant exam uses tools designed just for infants. We look at all of the following:
External Eye Health- We examine the eyelids, eyelashes, and tear ducts to make sure your little one is not experiencing discomfort.
Visual Functioning- We shine a small light into their eyes, which produces a reflex that tells us if your baby will need glasses. This may be done before and after dilation for the best assessment.
Eye Muscle Teaming- Our doctors examine how the child follows a toy or other object, how they turn their eyes in response to a target, and how their eyes work together. We make sure their eyes are in proper alignment.
Internal Eye Health- We dilate the eyes with gentle eye drops to widen the pupil. This allows us to fully examine the health of the back of the eyes. We check for problems with the retina (light sensitive tissue) and optic nerve (a part of the brain). This allows us to check for any eye cancers or other issues that may be visually devastating to your baby.