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Eye Exams in Your Baby's First Year

What Happens in a First-Year Eye Exam?

Before your baby's eye exam, make a list of any questions you have. In case you'll need to wait to see the doctor, bring a favorite toy or something else your baby can play with quietly and maybe a snack as well.

Every well-baby visit should include:

  • A family history of eye health or vision problems.
  • A penlight exam of eyelids and eyeballs: Are the pupils the same size? Are the lids firm, not drooping? Is there any sign of infection, disease, tearing problems, or allergy? Do the eyes, lids, and lashes appear normal?
  • Eye movement check (each eye and both together): How well does your baby follow an object (often a toy) as the doctor moves it about? Both eyes should respond the same. If not, there may be a problem.
  • Light reaction test: This test takes place in a darkened room so your baby's pupils widen, giving the doctor a better view inside the eye. Using an ophthalmoscope or retinoscope, the doctor looks for a red reflex in the eyes -- one at a time and then together. An abnormal response could signal problems like cataracts or tumors.

Although most doctors know how to do a baby's and child's eye exams, your baby's doctor may want to refer your baby for additional screening, with or without the finding of eye or vision problems. Experts have different opinions on vision screening and exams for children. Talk to your doctor to see what’s right for you.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on April 01, 2014

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