eye exams – adult vs infant

Welcome to 2010!!!  In honor of the new decade, I’ve decided to give the blog a makeover.  The content is all still here.

I had my regular eye exam a couple of days ago.  It had been 2 years since my previous one, which was a week or so after we learned Zoe needed glasses.  Since then, I’ve been to so many pediatric eye exams with Zoe, that I’d forgotten what an adult one was like.  So many machines for mapping your eyes and visions.  And far fewer toys.  They have Zoe follow a toy tiger with her eyes to measure her range of eye motion, I got to follow a pen tip.  Zoe gets to look at a cute card of a house with a path leading to it with lots of shapes, I got to read letters.

It reminded me of a survey I’d recently read about, the 2009 American Optometric Association’s Eye-Q survey.  It surveyed 1000 American adults about their knowledge of eye and vision health. Towards the end of the survey – starting on page 5 in the link above – are questions about infant’s and children’s vision.  This one in particular jumped out at me:

60. What concerns would you have about taking your infant to see an eye doctor before age one?
Please select all that apply. (multiple answers permitted)

  • Infant can’t communicate — 37%
  • Infant can’t sit still — 25%
  • Too early to detect problems — 19%
  • Expensive–  15%
  • It will hurt the infant — 8%
  • Inconvenience — 5%
  • No eye doctor nearby — 4%
  • None of the above — 41%
  • Other — 2%

When I first read the results, it surprised me that so many people would think that their infant not communicating would be a reason for not doing an eye exam.  After getting my own exam though, I was reminded of how different the exams are, and if you are only used to the adult exams – reading letters, choosing between 1 and 2, and 1 and 2 again, and again – of course you might think that it’s crazy to expect a young child, and a pre-verbal one at that, to do that exam.

If you’re interested in reading more about infant eye exams, I think Dr. Bonilla-Warford’s post about the exam that he did on his own 7 month old (at the time) daughter, Nora, has a nice explanation about the process, from a parent and eye doctor’s perspective.

My eyes are healthy, by the way.  My prescription got slightly stronger (I’m nearsighted).  And I picked out a beautiful pair of Lafont glasses, so now Zoe and I will have the same brand frames.

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2010!   May your child’s vision grow stronger, may their glasses stay up on their little noses, and may their lenses remain unscratched!  I’ll be playing around with a new look for Little Four Eyes for the new year, so don’t be alarmed if things look a little different in 2010.

2 responses to “eye exams – adult vs infant

  1. Ann,

    Great post. I too was surprized at the results on the AOA survey in regards to infant vision. The funny thing is that infant exams are generally the easiest – as long as you aren’t afraid of babies. They are much easier than eye exams on squirelly two year olds! And often easier than adults, who have much more complex visual needs and expectations.

    Thanks for the link. I hope that others find it useful.



  2. I think I would have answered just like the others before I learned with you and Zoe about all that could be diagnosed. And it reminds me that I am overdue for mine!! (put the dollar in please)


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