Test 101

Eye Test

Historically, most children who are afflicted with either near-sightedness or far-sightedness have not been diagnosed until early grade school when a teacher would notice the child squinting or struggling to read the chalk board or a text book. Many schools perform a hearing and an eye test in elementary school, which might catch a problem that has not yet been found. But many pediatricians are beginning to administer a hearing and an eye test to children shortly before preschool age.

Since we typically associate an eye test with a chart of letters descending in size vertically down a chart, we might assume that a 3-year-old child who doesn’t know the alphabet can not be given an eye test. However, there is an alternate eye test that can be administered to young children and yields the same results.

This preschool eye test is also a black and white chart, but is comprised of shapes and pictures. These shapes are also vertically descending in size. A child stands a specified distance from the chart and is asked to cover each eye respectively and tell the shapes they see from top to bottom. Since most 3-year-olds know the basic shapes such as circle, square, and triangle, and can identify basic pictures such as house, dog and cat, this type of alternate eye test can be administered fairly easily.

Though not 100% inclusive, because of a child’s still developing eyesight, this early eye test can still serve as an identifier to potential eyesight problems. This can lead to early intervention of learning delays since a child learns based on what they perceive. If an early eye test determines there may be a problem, a parent can then consider visiting a pediatric optometrist at an earlier age. Waiting until early elementary school isn’t destructive to your child’s eye health, but research as shown that the earliest possible intervention is what helps children succeed in school and in life.

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