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Pediatric Eye Exams & Eye Care

Pediatric Eye Exams & Eye Care Overview

At Pressvision, we provide the best eye care available for your child. Pediatric exams are essential for your child’s overall eye health. Your child may struggle with learning, reading, and sports activities without good vision.
A routine comprehensive eye exam with our eye doctor, Dr. Knapp, can identify a severe eye problem before it causes a developmental delay in your child.

Recommended Schedule for Pediatric Eye Exams

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), you should routinely go to your optometrist to get pediatric eye exams on a regular schedule. Proper eye care starts younger than you might think for children. The AOA recommends that you start bringing your child to the optometrist at around 6 months of age – even if your child isn’t showing any obvious vision difficulties.

At our Fair Lawn, NJ optometry office, we offer sophisticated detection tools which can identify vision problems – frequently before the issues are readily apparent to mom and dad. We can treat the most common eye problems in our office and get your child the care they need.
Below is a schedule of how often you should get your child’s eyes checked.

Newborn - 2 Years (Six Month Baseline Exam)

Babies start exploring the world with their eyes. Their eyes are the primary way to learn about their environment.
When babies are born, they have no motor skills. They can’t walk or talk. They can’t effectively and precisely move their arms and legs.
Similarly, when your child is born, they don’t have perfect vision. They can only focus on objects within around 12 inches of their face. So their ability to focus on things starts quite limited and improves over time.
It also takes practice for your child to learn how to see effectively by using their eyes in coordination. It seems automatic and natural to move your eyes together to explore the world around you as adults.
But what seems so natural to us as adults is a learning process for your child. Your child’s eyes aren’t well coordinated during the first two months of life. So your child needs practice and time to develop their vision and get their eyes to work well together.

Comprehensive Pediatric Eye Exam Process for Babies and Toddlers

Babies and toddlers aren’t known for their attention spans, so Dr. Knapp and her staff do their best to make these tests fun and engaging for your young child to get an accurate diagnostic assessment.

1) Your Child's History

Before beginning the exam, Dr. Knapp will review your child’s medical history and the medical history of the child’s family – especially as this history pertains to any vision problems. You and Dr. Knapp will take this time to discuss any concerns about your child’s vision based on your firsthand experience.

2) Testing for Visual Acuity

Dr. Knapp will check your child’s visual acuity. Obviously, most members of this age group aren’t great communicators, so Dr. Knapp will use the VEP vision testing system to inspect the visual pathway of your child and detect any potential vision problems.

For more information on this VEP system, click here.

3) Testing for Refraction

Dr. Knapp will then use a series of lenses for refraction testing. Refraction testing determines how much light reaches their retina – and whether or not your child may be a candidate for glasses.

4) Binocular Vision and Ocular Motility

When conducting this series of tests, Dr. Knapp will determine how well your child’s eyes work together. Doing so helps her to gauge your child’s depth perception and eye tracking skills.

If my Child's Vision Seems Fine, do they still need a pediatric eye exam at six months?


Even if your child seems fine, this is a crucial development time for them. They need to have accurate, reliable vision to learn and progress. Good vision is essential.
As a parent, you may think everything is proceeding smoothly in their development, but Dr. Knapp and our team will be able to detect a variety of potential issues, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and eye coordination and alignment problems. Then, we can effectively treat those problems so your child can continue to learn and thrive.

InfantSEE® - Free Eye Exam for Babies

We offer a free eye exam for babies through InfantSEE®.
Our completely free InfantSEE® evaluation will allow us to determine not only how your child’s eyesight is developing at that moment, but it also allows us to have a forecast of your baby’s future eyesight – along with any potential problems that they might encounter.

The most visual development occurs throughout the first year of life for your baby. During this timeframe, babies learn how to move their eyes in various directions, use their eyes in tandem, and how to properly focus on objects and people.

How Long Does an InfantSee® Exam Take

You and your baby will need to carve out a block of about an hour and a half for us to perform the exam. During that time, we will perform a comprehensive checkup of your baby’s eyes to determine whether there are any potential areas of concern.
If you have any questions about InfantSEE®, or would like to schedule an appointment now, contact us today at (201) 794-7977.

Exams Before Six Months

While it is essential for babies to get an eye exam at around six months of age, you may wish to come in for a pediatric eye exam even earlier in the following cases:
  • You or your spouse’s family has a history of eye disease or other eye-related problems
  • Your child was born prior to the expected due date (premature birth)
  • Your child is exhibiting signs of eye problems or eye disease
  • Your baby’s eyes seem to abnormally work independently from each other with one or both eyes consistently turning in or out

Ages 2-5: At Least One Comprehensive Exam

The preschool ages (between 2 and 5 years old) are crucial for your child’s physical development and learning.
At this stage, your child is growing and learning quickly. They’re learning how to manipulate their environment by playing with toys. This helps them to fine-tune their depth perception and hone their fine motor skills as well as eye-hand coordination (also called hand eye coordination).
They’re also laying the groundwork for the next level of learning. They’re working with writing implements – like crayons, pencils, and markers. Being able to read and write is an obvious essential skill for when they enter kindergarten.

Comprehensive Pediatric Eye Exams for Preschoolers

The 2 to 5 age range is a bit more interactive than the toddler age group.  Dr. Knapp and her team are able to conduct a more detailed exam where your child is an active participant who provides helpful feedback. 

1) Your Child's History

Dr. Knapp will sit with you and your child and review your child’s health history and any eye or other health issues that run in the family that may affect vision-related tasks. Getting this background gives Dr. Knapp insight into potential causes for any eye-related problems.

2) Testing for Visual Acuity

With this age group, Dr. Knapp is looking for any potentially serious issues like amblyopia or other vision issues. She will interactively work with your child as they identify and try to match various symbols and letters.

3) Testing for Refraction

During this portion of the exam, Dr. Knapp will use a series of lenses to test your child’s vision at various distances. Prescription glasses may be recommended if your child struggles with nearsightedness or farsightedness.

4) Testing for Binocular Vision, Ocular Motility, and Accommodation

These tests determine whether or not your child’s eyes are working in concert with each other. The ability to do so is required to learn and absorb information most effectively. During this test, one eye is often covered to understand how well each eye functions independently.

The Hirschberg test is also performed at this stage by Dr. Knapp. She will use a light to examine the reflection of light coming off of the cornea in your child’s eye. Ideally, the reflection of the pen light will appear in the same position in both pupils.

5) Color Vision Testing

In many cases, Dr. Knapp will conduct a color vision test for your child. Being able to discriminate between different colors accurately can be crucial to the learning process. Therefore, Dr. Knapp will go through multiple color matching exercises with your child to determine if they have a color vision deficiency.

Be Aware of Two Common Visual Conditions at this age: Strabismus and Amblyopia

As enjoyable as it is to watch your child grow and develop new skills, this age is also a common time for amblyopia (called “lazy eye” by some) and strabismus (sometimes referred to as “crossed eyes”).
Amblyopia is when your child cannot see with 20/20 vision – but this condition isn’t attributable to disease and can’t be corrected with eyeglasses. Fortunately, there are highly effective treatments for amblyopia – like vision therapy – that we offer at our office here in Fair Lawn.
Strabismus is a condition where your child’s eyes aren’t wholly coordinated and don’t always look in the same direction. Fortunately, this condition is also easily treatable at our optometry office, especially at a young age.

Is Your Preschool-Aged Child Struggling with Vision?

If you notice that your preschooler is experiencing one or more of the following conditions, you should consider getting them in for a comprehensive pediatric eye exam.

Concerning Behaviors

  • Squinting to see something (especially when other children aren’t squinting)
  • Holding objects very close to their face to see them
  • Incessant rubbing of their eyes
  • Minimal attention span (when compared to other children of a similar age)
  • Hypersensitive to bright light
  • The need to cover one eye to see something
  • Tilting their head to one side while attempting to focus on an object
  • Noticeable lack of eye-hand coordination when the need arises for tasks with fine motor skills
  • Unwillingness to participate in activities that require a lot of visual focus and concentration (like drawing and playing with blocks)

Physical Manifestations of Eye Problems

If your child has eyes that don’t seem to be working together in a coordinated fashion (e.g. one eye is turned towards the inside or outside), this is a warning sign that they may have a potential vision problem.

Ages 5+ Annual Comprehensive Eye Exams

Proper eye care is an ongoing process. The AOA recommends annual comprehensive eye exams for school aged children.

Comprehensive eye exams are more thorough and effective than simple vision screening tests. Unfortunately, The AOA estimates that these school vision screenings may miss up to 75% of children with vision problems.
Good vision is essential for your child to learn and succeed in school. However, as children grow, their vision may not remain constant. For example, even if your child checked out fine at age 6, previously unseen vision issues may be uncovered during their annual exam when they turn 7.
Anytime is a good time to get your child their comprehensive eye exam. The best time, however, is within a month of school starting back up for the year.

A Comprehensive Eye Exam as Part of the Back to School Checklist

Comprehensive Pediatric Eye Exam for School-Aged Kids

Eye problems can emerge at any age, so your child should receive annual comprehensive exams. Here is what you and your child can expect during these yearly examinations.

1) Your Child's History

Dr. Knapp will sit with you and your child and cover everything related to their vision. This discussion will include family health history, any eye injuries that may have occurred, and any struggles your child encounters with their vision.

2) Testing for Visual Acuity

Visual acuity testing is performed using one or more eye charts (Snellen Eye Charts and ETDRS eye charts). These eye charts get progressively more challenging to read as your child works their way down the chart. Your child’s eyes will be tested together and independently to identify potential eye issues.

3) Testing for Refraction

During this test, Dr. Knapp will perform a retinoscopy – or use a series of lenses to determine if your child has a refractive error in their vision. In many cases, prescription glasses can provide proper vision correction.

4) Testing for Binocular Vision, Ocular Motility, and Accommodation

During these tests, Dr. Knapp assesses how well your child’s eyes work together. This includes testing your child’s eye alignment. If you’re an adult, you may have been through the same series of tests.
Stereopsis – This is where your child must correctly identify where a random dot appears on a screen.

5) Color Vision Testing

During this series of tests, Dr. Knapp will work with your child to determine if they have difficulty distinguishing between different colors.

6) Ocular and Systemic Health Assessment

Dr. Knapp will test your child using a variety of tests that most adults who have been to an optometrist should be pretty familiar with.
Here, she’s testing pupil response, visual field, and many other physical characteristics of your child’s eyes. With these tests, she can determine any potentially serious eye conditions like loss of peripheral vision.

Is Your School-Aged Child Struggling with Vision?

Unfortunately, a child may be unable to tell if they have bad vision. They obviously don’t have a frame of reference or context to know how others see. As a result, you may have to rely on symptoms and behaviors to try to determine if your child needs to have a comprehensive eye exam.
Here are some indicators that your child is struggling with their vision:
  • Headaches
  • Persistent blinking or rubbing of their eyes
  • Short attention span
  • Double Vision
  • One (or both eyes) turning towards the inside or the outside
  • Avoidance of reading
  • Inability to recall what they just read
  • Losing their place while reading

Other signs of problems may be that they adjust their reading environment:

  • Holding books very close to their face while reading
  • The need to cover one eye while reading
  • Tilting their head to the left or right in order to read
If your child is experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, it would be wise to get them into our office for their annual comprehensive pediatric eye exam.

Diagnostic Tools

Diopsys Enfant® Pediatric VEP Vision Testing System

Enfant Pediatric Visual Evoked Potential (VET) Vision Testing System is a powerful way to detect vision problems in young children – even before they can verbally communicate.
The Enfant® is a simple, child-friendly device designed to screen for vision deficiencies in young children. We can use this system with children as young as six months old.

The Diopsys Enfant Pediatric VEP Vision Testing System in Action

It is the only diagnostic tool of its kind and can effectively evaluate the entire visual pathway of your child. Through this tool, our optometrist can detect visual deficiencies like optic nerve abnormalities, severe refractive errors, and other issues that might lead to amblyopia.
To assess the strength and speed of your child’s visual system, the gadget employs modern Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) technology.
Its ability to detect Amblyopia (lazy eye) allows us to devise a treatment plan to help your child. Treatment may include in-office vision therapy.

Amblyopia is the #1 cause of preventable yet permanent vision loss in children in the USA. An estimated 4.5 million adults are legally blind or visually incapacitated due to untreated amblyopia. (Source: The Children’s Eye Foundation).

The VEP Was Able to Detect Retinoblastoma in this 8-month Old Baby – Which Allowed Her Life to Be Saved.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Eye Exams

At what age should a child have their first vision test?

Children should have their first pediatric eye exam when they reach six months of age - earlier if the child appears to have visual difficulties or a history of vision problems in the family.

What are the most common eye problems in children?

Blurry vision attributable to nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are young children's most common eye issues. Less common but more serious eye problems (e.g. amblyopia and strabismus) can occur early and are best treated when a child is young.

How often should kids get their eyes checked?

Your child should get their first pediatric eye exam at six months of age - and sometimes even earlier. They should also have at least one comprehensive eye exam at preschool age. At age 5, they should get an annual comprehensive eye exam.

Easy Payment Options

We accept most major insurance, cash, most credit cards, and offer patient financing with CareCredit.
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Insurance and Payment Plans

No Insurance? / Don't See Your Insurance?

No Problem!

At PressVision, we know how confusing insurance can be for our patients. Our patients appreciate that we go the extra mile when it comes to helping our patients and their families deal with their insurance provider. 

Making Insurance Make Sense

We will explain how your deductible works. We’ll also explain what services are fully or partially covered. We’ll also tell you what services are unlikely to be covered. Based on our experience, we’ll even give you our estimate of what you can expect back from your insurance company.

Insurance Submission

We also take care of submitting all required paperwork to your insurance company. We do this every day, and we know the ins and outs of getting insurance claims submitted properly to your insurer.

What to Expect

Insurance providers are always changing coverages for services. While we can’t guarantee that your insurance company will approve or cover all provided services, you can be sure that we will fully explain everything to you and properly submit all required paperwork to your insurer.

Our Modern Fair Lawn Office

Our office is warm and welcoming to both adults and children.  We have the latest technology to assist with proper diagnosis and with vision therapy.

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