At What Age Should a Child Start Wearing Glasses?

Most folks will need to wear glasses at some time in their lives.  The main reason is to right a refractive error. This happens when the shape of the eye doesn’t accurately focus the light rays entering the eye, at times making blurred vision.  The lack of a slight refractive error is very rare, but not all refractive errors necessitate glasses.  Refractive errors can happen at any age. There are infants that need glasses for natural visual development.

Eye care professionals decide the refractive error during a refraction with a retinoscope.  The light from the retinoscope is quite bright and is moved back and forth before each eye.  At the same time, the examiner utilizes lenses to measure if glasses are necessary. In children, correct measurement for glasses necessitates several eyedrops to dilate the pupils and temporarily affect the eye’s focusing means.

Most children will have their 1st vision test at around three or four years of age, by either the pediatrician or by a school vision screening program.  Parents may have their child’s eyes examined earlier if there’s a family history of an eye issue or if they want to know if it has been inherited by their children. Also, if there is an obvious eye issue, like a crossed eye, immediate action is necessary. If there are no problems, then when should children be prescribed glasses?

Schedule your child for a complete examination with an ophthalmologist if you see any of the following:

  • The child is visually inattentive during infancy
  • The child fails a vision test
  • The child squints to see
  • The child complains of blurry vision close in and/or at reasonable distances
  • The child complains of headaches, eyestrain, redness of the eyes, particularly when reading
  • The child constantly his or her eyes
  • The child crosses one eye when paying attention to close objects


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