InfantSEE® at Casco Bay EyeCare

~ At what age should a baby have an eye exam?

~ How are babies tested?

~ What is the importance of family history?

InfantSEE is the American Optometric Association Foundation’s public health program designed to help infants establish a lifetime of healthy vision. Through InfantSEE, our optometrists offer infants a one-time comprehensive eye exam, FREE, regardless of a family’s income or access to insurance coverage.

At what age should a baby have an eye exam?
As InfantSEE optometrists, we at Casco Bay EyeCare encourage parents of babies from six to 12 months to schedule a thorough eye examination for their babies. Clinical research shows that at six months, most babies have reached a number of developmental milestones making this an appropriate age for a first eye exam.

It is estimated that one in ten children is at risk from an undiagnosed eye or vision problem. Because many eye conditions have no visual symptoms, a general well-baby check-up may not detect them. If left untreated, these problems can lead to difficulties in school or even permanent vision loss. The first year of life is a time when many vision problems might be prevented or more easily corrected.

How are babies tested?
Since babies can’t speak or identify symbols or letters, we use non-invasive tests to determine eye health. Happily, most babies enjoy what they perceive to be a series of games. The eye exam will test for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, track eye movement and check overall eye health. We can identify signs of such vision problems as strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye) and diseases of the eye.

Specific tests include:
Visual Acuity – Our tests determine whether an infant can focus on an object and follow that object as it moves, as well as reveal which objects the baby prefers to look at and at what distances.

Prescription Status – Using lenses and light from a small hand-held instrument, our optometrists can see how a baby’s eyes respond to particular targets and test for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Although these conditions often correct themselves as a baby develops, we can note the need for careful follow-up.

Eye Movement – Our optometrists use hands, light or a toy to attract a baby’s attention and track eye movement.

Eye Alignment – By covering one eye at a time, our optometrists can study eye muscles for signs of strabismus (crossed eyes), which may indicate other vision problems as well.

General Eye Health – The doctor will check the eye’s structure, examine eyelids and tear ducts, check pupil function, and use dilation to take a close look at the inner eye.

What is the importance of family history?
Our optometrists will ask details about your family history. The more we know about your baby’s family background, the more precisely focused our examination can be. Several factors may put a baby at risk for eye problems, including:

~ premature birth, low birth weight, or oxygen used following birth

~ family history of eye diseases such as retinoblastoma (eye cancer), congenital cataracts, or metabolic genetic disease

~ drug or alcohol use during pregnancy

~ sexually transmitted diseases

~ difficult or assisted labor which may cause fetal distress

We want your baby’s eyes to be the vision of health!

Call today to arrange your 6-to-12-month-old baby’s one-time FREE eye examination at the Casco Bay EyeCare office nearest you.