So how does a baby take a vision test?
Since a baby can’t read the letters on a chart or tell us which lens looks better, eye doctors use other methods to test a baby’s vision.
Red reflex test
Doctors can use an ophthalmoscope to magnify the eye and use a light to examine it clearly. When light is shone into the baby’s eye, a red reflection should be seen as it’s reflected back. This was missing in Dane’s eye due to his cataract – instead it was a white reflection.
Pupil reflex test
This is generally done with the lights heavily dimmed so that the baby’s pupils (the black centre of the eye) dilate, or get bigger. The baby’s eye should automatically shrink when light is shone in their eye and if it doesn’t, it can mean there is a problem.
Attention to visual objects/Range of movement test
This is when the doctor or optometrist tries to get the baby, or young child’s, attention, getting them to follow an object to see if their eyes track together.
This type of test would be carried out by an optometrist or ophthalmologist as it determines whether the baby has a vision issue requiring glasses and if so, what prescription is required. Usually the baby would have their pupils dilated with special drops so the doctor can see the back of the eye. They will then use light and lenses held up to the eye to measure the reaction – this will assist in determining any refractive correction needed (glasses).
Here’s a fantastic video I found on Youtube that goes through a baby eye exam.