The importance of regular pediatric eye exams for children with special needs

Published on
January 2, 2023

Regular pediatric eye exams are important for all children, and they are especially important for children with special needs or difficulty in the classroom. Children with special needs may have unique vision challenges that require specialized care and treatment.

What is a pediatric eye exam?

A pediatric eye exam is a comprehensive evaluation of a child's visual system, including their eyes and vision. The purpose of a pediatric eye exam is to detect any vision problems or eye health issues in children and to provide appropriate treatment.

During a pediatric eye exam, the eye doctor will check the child's visual acuity, which is their ability to see clearly at different distances. The eye doctor will also check the child's eye alignment and eye movements, eye focusing and tracking, as well as the health of the eyes and surrounding tissues.

In addition to these basic tests, the eye doctor may also perform other specialized tests depending on the child's needs and age. For example, the eye doctor may use eye drops to dilate the pupils to get a better view of the back of the eye. The eye doctor may also use special instruments to check the child's eye pressure and to examine the front and back of the eye in more detail.

Why is it important to schedule a pediatric eye exam if your child is struggling with reading? 

There are a variety of visual skills that are used for reading. It is estimated that one out of every five children has an undetected vision problem that impacts their ability to read. When a child starts reading they require new visual skills such as tracking the eyes smoothly across a sentence and from one line to the next. They need to be able to maintain focus for extended periods of time with both eyes. And they need to be able to easily change their focus from reading material to the teacher or board. All of these visual skills are developed differently by each child, and any trouble with reading should be checked out by a pediatric eye doctor to determine if there is an underlying visual problem that is impacting the child's success in the classroom. 

Why is there a need for pediatric eye exams for children with special needs?

Here are a few reasons why pediatric eye exams are important for children with special needs:

Early detection and treatment of vision problems

Children with special needs may be more prone to vision problems due to their underlying medical conditions and development. By having regular eye exams, any vision problems can be detected and treated early, which can help improve their quality of life.

Improved learning and development

Good vision is essential for learning and development. Children with special needs may have difficulty learning if they have untreated vision problems. By having regular eye exams, vision problems can be corrected, which can help improve their learning and development.

Better communication and socialization

Children with special needs may have difficulty communicating and socializing with others. Good vision is important for reading facial expressions and body language, which can help children with special needs communicate and socialize more effectively.


Children with special needs may be more prone to accidents and injuries due to their underlying medical conditions and developmental delays. Good vision can help improve their safety by allowing them to see potential hazards more clearly.

Schedule a pediatric eye exam at American Family Vision Clinic

Regular pediatric eye exams are important for all children, but it is especially important for any child that is struggling with reading. It is also extremely important that children who are special needs have a pediatric eye exam as they can help detect and treat vision problems, improve learning and development, improve communication and socialization, and enhance safety. If your child struggles with reading or has special needs, it is important to make sure they receive regular pediatric eye exams to ensure that any vision problems are detected and treated as soon as possible. To schedule a pediatric eye exam, please call (360) 491-2121. Patients looking for a pediatric eye exam visit our clinic from all over Washington and we are proud to be a leading provider of pediatric eye care for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.



Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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