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Vision Screening and Eye Exams for Children and Teens


Complete eye exams are important to check for vision problems and eye diseases that you may not know your child has. This includes lazy eye (amblyopia), misaligned eyes (strabismus), and problems with focus.

The Alberta Association of Optometrists recommends an eye exam at the following times:

  • A first eye exam at age 6 to 9 months.
  • At least once between ages 2 to 5 years.
  • Once a year for ages 6 to 19 years.

Eye examinations by a specialist (an ophthalmologist or optometrist) are strongly recommended if a child of any age has:

  • A family history of eye problems, especially genetic eye diseases.
  • Signs of misaligned eyes, lazy eye, or nearsightedness.
  • A red, swollen, or cloudy eye.

Children and teens with a disease that affects the eyes can follow the eye exam and vision testing schedule for all children. It's best that they see an eye doctor (specialist) for their eye care.

At least once a year, most eye doctors want to check the vision of children and teens who have refractive errors that impact their sight. If nearsightedness is severe or quickly gets worse in a child, the child will need exams more often.



  1. Community Paediatrics Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society (2009). Vision screening in infants, children and youth. Paediatrics and Child Health, 14(4): 246–248. Available online:


Adaptation Date: 11/27/2023

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

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