Types of Visual Tests for Children by Age

In order to evaluate your child's vision, your child's physician will perform a history and physical, including a complete examination of the eyes. Many different types of vision tests can be used to check your child's ability to see. Some can be performed at any age, while some are specific for your child's age and understanding.

For an Infant

Your infant's vision can be tested through:

  • Response to light – an infant will blink in response to a bright light
  • Pupil response – measures the response of the pupil to light
  • Ability to follow a target – checks an infant’s ability to look at and follow an object
  • Visually-evoked response testing – a special monitor records electrical activity in the brain as lights and patterns are shown

For an Older Infant & Toddler

Many of the tests used for infants may be performed, in addition to the cover/uncover test. This test looks for movement and alignment of the eyes that may occur when a child is focusing on an object. One eye is covered with an opaque card while the child stares straight ahead, and the examiner observes the uncovered eye.

For a Preschooler

In addition to the visual tests used for infants and toddlers, two specific tests may be used for preschoolers. Visual acuity tests measure both near and distant vision. In the preschooler, these charts may consist of pictures or stories instead of letters of the alphabet. Color testing helps determine color blindness in a child.

For School-Aged Children & Adults

In this age group, formal vision tests can be completed with special charts or instruments that aid with testing vision. Both near and far vision can be evaluated.