When a child should have their first eye exam

Pediatric Ophthalmologist Kenneth Wright, MD, shares advice for parents on when children should have their first eye exam, and why its important that babies have their eyes checked shortly after birth
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When a child should have their first eye exam

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I'm often asked, "When should we do a first eye exam in a child?" You are not going to believe this, but it's best if we do that first eye exam at birth. The most important test is called: The Red Reflex Test." You want to make sure that your baby has that Red Reflex Test right at birth or soon after. You ask, "Why?" Because if that baby has a cataract, which is dense, it blurs the vision and you want to operate early. The earliest I've operated was a two day old baby. In fact, that was the producer's child and we saved that child's vision. So the first exam is at birth. They have to have the Red Reflex Test. After that, visual acuity testing is usually about three to four years old. Every pediatrician has, in their office, a chart specifically for children. You can test children three to four years old. The first test is the Red Reflex Test and visual acuity testing should be done at about three to four years old.

Pediatric Ophthalmologist Kenneth Wright, MD, shares advice for parents on when children should have their first eye exam, and why its important that babies have their eyes checked shortly after birth

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Kenneth Wright, MD

Pediatric Ophthalmologist

A caring physician, Dr. Kenneth Wright is devoted to the health of children’s eyes. He is an internationally respected pediatric ophthalmologist, and is included in “The Best Doctors in America” and “Who’s Who in Medicine and Health Care.”  Dr. Wright is a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the USC Keck School of Medicine.  He has developed novel surgical techniques for pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus.  Dr. Wright received his medical degree from Boston University and fellowships in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus at Johns-Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, and Children’s Hospital, Washington, DC.  Following his fellowships, he then accepted a full-time faculty member position at USC School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles where he served for 10 years.  He was later appointed Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, before returning home to Los Angeles to establish a pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus center of excellence.  

Dr. Wright has authored of over 100 published scientific papers, seven textbooks including his renowned textbook, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and has lectured worldwide.  He founded the non-profit Wright Foundation with a mission to reduce blindness and suffering in children with eye disorders through research, education, and clinical care. He has established a pediatric eye clinic for underprivileged children.  Important to the Wright Center is the principle that patient care always comes first.  

An interesting personal note is that Dr. Wright’s youngest son developed crossed eyes as an infant requiring surgery and Dr. Wright operated on his own son.  The outcome was excellent and years later his son served in the United States Marine Corps as a top marksman.

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