Pediatric Eye Exams

Children’s eye exams at Total Eyecare are a routine part of our Pediatric Optometry practice. Children’s eyes and vision are different from an adult’s eyes and vision. The brain cells that control our vision are not fully developed, or mature when we are born. Therefore, their very first exam should be when the child is between 6-12 months of age. The doctors of Total Eyecare feel that the ideal age for a child’s first eye exam is 10 months old. The next comprehensive eye exam should be at age 3 and then before they enter school around age 5. An annual eye exam is recommended after age 5.


It is important to share any unusual symptoms with the optometrist. These may include:

  • Blinking excessively
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Inability to maintain eye contact
  • Born prematurely

What occurs during a pediatric eye exam? Your child will typically have the following testing:

Visual Acuity

Your child's vision will be checked. This is possible even in children who do not speak yet. For older children, picture charts, letter games, and letter recognition can be used.

Eye Alignment or Muscle Balance

Various methods are used to test the alignment of the eyes and make sure the muscles, which move the eye, are functioning normally.

Binocular Vision

These tests are used to make sure that the eyes are not only aligned correctly but that the brain is using them together as well. If the eyes are properly aligned, it does not always follow that the brain is using them together.


Refraction determines if your child is myopic (nearsighted), hyperopic (farsighted) or has astigmatism. This can be done in infants where they cannot cooperate to tell us how well they are seeing. A special light is placed into their eyes and the light is moved back and forth. The light enters the eye and "bounces" back to the examiner. The way the light behaves as it comes back out through the child's eye can be used to determine the refractive power of the eye. Sometimes dilating drops are used to help neutralize the eye to help the doctor get a final glasses prescription.

Fundus Examination

We use specialized instruments, often worn on the doctor’s head, to look into the back of your child's eye. The retinal blood vessels and the optic nerve, an extension of the brain, can be seen. Because this is an area where blood vessels and portions of the brain can be seen, it is very valuable in helping to diagnose many disorders that can affect the entire body.

Once the examination is complete, your child may be prescribed glasses. Treatment for other problems may also be addressed. If your child receives drops, he/she may experience blurry vision until their effect has resolved. The duration of this effect is dependent on the type of drop used, the color of his/her eyes and the refractive power of the eyes.

Some common pediatric eye problems include amblyopia (lazy eye), and eye turns (esotropia, exotropia), and color blindness to name a few. If your child is diagnosed with one of these conditions, several solutions may be recommended including eyeglasses, eye drops, vision therapy, and surgery in extreme cases.

Call Total Eye Care Today!

The team at Total Eye Care is ready and waiting to help! To schedule a comprehensive eye exam, contact Total Eyecare in Elko at 775-475-4822. We accept all types of insurance and welcome new patients. Online forms are available for confidentiality and convenience.