When parents bring home their new baby boy or girl, they expect to return to a pediatrician several times during the first year to ensure the baby is healthy and strong. But, quite often, doctors and parents don’t think about childhood eye exams during these check-ups. Generally, parents don’t think to ask for an eye exam until the child goes to school. By then, it may be too late to spot a serious childhood eye disease.
Vision Screening for Infants
The American Optometric Association recommends that infants get an eye screening by the time they are 6 months old. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, infant visual screening tests should include the following:
• Red eye reflex test: Healthy pupils will create a red reflection when viewed through an ophthalmoscope.
• Response to light: An infant will blink when a bright light is shined in the eyes.
• Pupil response to light: The pupil will respond when a penlight is shined in the eye.
• Follow a target: The eyes should follow an object or toy as it’s moving.
• Visually-evoked response testing: In this test, a monitor is attached to the infant’s head to record brain activity as lights and patterns are shown to infants.
The doctor also should examine your baby’s eyelids and eyeballs for discharge or other indications of disease or infection. You also should discuss your family’s vision history with the doctor.
It is imperative that children are screened early as nearly 1 in 80 children are at risk for Leukocoria, also known as “The Glow.” This abnormal red eye reflex is common in several devastating childhood eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Early detection through red eye reflex screening and by spotting “The Glow” through simple flash photography can prevent blindness.
What to do if you see “The Glow.”
If you see a white or golden glow in your child’s eyes in multiple photographs taken with traditional digital or film cameras, share those photos with your pediatrician or pediatric ophthalmologist. Ask for a Red Eye Reflex Test.
Know the Glow® is dedicated to eliminating preventable childhood blindness. Share this post with new parents who you know and help us spread the word.