Vision tests are normally conducted on children to check that their vision is developing properly. Eye vision tests are also conducted to check for treatable conditions that affect young children such as otitis media or a squint. Tests are also done to assess whether the child will suffer any vision problems in the future. In case a parent suspects that his or her child suffers from some sort of vision problem, the child should be taken to a doctor, who can suggest an eye specialist.
Alternately, an optician could also help spot any underlying problems such as juvenile diabetes or growths occurring behind the eye that could be causing problems in the child's vision. Other causes for vision problems include genetic conditions such as astigmatism, which is due to a deformity of the eye; a similar genetic condition is choroidoretinal degeneration wherein parts of the eye gradually stop functioning. Vision can be affected if the optic nerve is damaged; some children suffer from congenital cataract, which could occur if the child has contracted an infection at birth such as rubella or is a Down's syndrome baby.
A routine vision test can detect underlying problems with the child's eyes leading to vision problems. Eye vision tests are also conducted to check the normal field of vision and to assess whether the child is short-sighted or long-sighted. Some tests may also include a check for color blindness. Symptoms that call for vision testing are poking or rubbing the eye and not making eye contact, and complaints of not being able to read a book or school notice board.
A baby should be able to see right from birth and after six weeks from birth, the child should be able to follow an interesting or colorful object with their eyes. In case the child is unable to notice colors or his or her eyes squint or 'roll away' from each other occasionally, then an eye exam will help detect the problem. Also, be alert for signs such as straining to read something or excessive rubbing of the eyes.
If this is the first vision test for the child, he or she could be anxious about what the test is about. Explain how the test will be performed and how it will feel. You could even demonstrate how the test is conducted by using a doll.