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Eye and Vision Tests for Children and Teens

Topic Overview

Use the guidelines below to schedule routine vision checks and eye examinations with an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends screening to detect lazy eye (amblyopia), misaligned eyes (strabismus), and defects in visual acuity in children younger than 5 years of age.footnote 1 For preschoolers with no vision problems and no family history of childhood eye problems:footnote 1

  • Many experts recommend that children have their vision tested between the ages of 3 and 5 years.
  • Children who have no vision problems and no family history of childhood eye problems may have their eyes tested during a health check-up or at school.
  • If there is a family history of childhood eye problems, a vision examination should be done by an eye doctor.

School-age children and teenagers with no vision problems should have their vision checked every 18 to 24 months.

Children and teenagers with nearsightedness or other refractive errors should have their vision checked at least once a year. Children with severe or rapidly worsening nearsightedness will need examinations 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:

Other Works Consulted

  • American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Ophthalmology, et al. (2013). Screening examination of premature infants for retinopathy of prematurity. Pediatrics, 131(1): 189–195. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012.2996. Accessed April 20, 2016.


Current as of: August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology