When should children have their first eye test?

“We at Mellins i-Style advise that even young children in good overall health should have regular eye examinations to ensure normal vision development”, says Andre Horn, senior optometrist and MD of Mellins i-Style.

Children with no obvious visual impairments should ideally have their first eye test by an optometrist between the ages of two and three and a half years of age. This should be followed with a second appointment before they start school.  Regular examinations should then be done every two years to ensure that any initial warning signals of vision deterioration are detected at an early stage.

If you suspect any significant developmental delays according to the guidelines below, it is essential that you book a professional eye examination for your toddler or child.  Mellins i-Style makes use of highly advanced, fully automated testing technology. The Zeiss i.Profiler measures approximately 3000 points of the eye in less than 90 seconds, ensuring precision vision for your child.

Premature babies and children, whose parents or siblings have a history of squinting or impaired vision, should be examined as early as six months of age and then regularly thereafter.

Seven important signs your toddler under the age of three needs an eye examination:

• Regularly holding his or her head at an angle

• Squinting his or her eyes

• Avoidance of light or failure to respond to light

• Obsessive rubbing of the eyes with fingers and grimacing

• Turning of the eyes without focusing on anything

• Grasping for objects and missing them

• Strabismus, more commonly known as ‘cross-eyes’, is when the eyes are turned or
when the eyes have different prescriptions. A ‘lazy eye’ can develop from this if the
child favours the eye that provides clear images and neglects the other, meaning the
neglected eye fails to develop its vision acuity.

Five signs that may indicate vision problems in older children (aged 4+):

• Frequent stumbling or running into furniture

• Increased vision problems at dusk and in the dark

• Dislike reading

• Isolation from other children

• Recurring headaches