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Affordable Children's Eye Exams $59

How to prepare & what to expect

Maintaining proper vision is important for your child to succeed in school and extracurricular activities. Poor vision may result in underperformance in tasks that affect a child’s safety and learning abilities.

A pediatrician or a school nurse will have a harder time conducting a proper vision screening for your child without the proper tools. This is why seeing an optometrist is the best choice when your child needs a comprehensive eye exam. A thorough eye exam is necessary to detect and treat vision problems as soon as they occur.

Pediatric eye exams for children of all ages are performed by an optometrist (not a technician) at all Heartland Vision locations.


Kids eye exams in Indiana
Pediatric eye exams in Indiana

Child eye exam cost

If your child is under your vision insurance plan, most plans cover the cost of annual pediatric eye exams. Heartland Vision’s doctors accept most insurance and union plans. We also offer a free benefits check to explain your plan and estimated out-of-pocket costs to you. Call or stop by for more information on payment.

If your child isn’t covered by insurance, standard eye exams at Heartland Vision typically cost $45. (You can view our current offer details for promotional prices and restrictions). Another effective payment option is CareCredit, which we accept for kids' eye exams and eyewear at all our locations.

How often should a child get an eye exam?

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that school-aged children receive eye exams every two years if vision correction is not required. Kids who require eyewear or contact lenses should receive annual examinations. Your child can begin receiving eye exams as early as 6 months old, so please contact us for a referral if your child is under the age of 3.

Kids’ eye exam frequency according to AOA guidelines:

It’s normal for your child’s eyes to change as they grow. It’s easier to keep track of eye health and vision developments when you schedule regular eye exams for your child.

Age Eye exam frequency
3 years Toddlers should have their first eye exam at age 3.
5-6 years Kids should have an eye exam before starting 5K.
6-18 years Once a year or as recommended by your eye doctor.

What to expect at a child eye exam

Our optometrists have experience in eye exams for people of all ages and will customize your child’s exam to meet their needs. Tests and procedures vary on several factors including age, overall health and vision. Pediatric eye health and vision may be assessed through:

binocular vision testing for kids


Is assessed by the child looking at random dot patterns while wearing a pair of 3D glasses. This determines visual deficits and how well a child’s eyes work together.


Is examined by assessing the eyelids, eye area, cornea, iris and lens for infection or abnormality.


Is assessed by having a child follow an object with their eyes.

testing pupil response as part of a kids' eye exam


Is assessed by an optometrist shining a light in the eyes to test pupil reaction.


Is assessed by shining a light into the eyes to look for clouding or refractive errors from the retina’s reflection.

visual acuity testing for children in Wisconsin


Is a vision assessment using a standard eye chart or symbols for younger children (like a house, circle, or apple).

evaluating peripheral vision in children


Is assessed by having the child look straight ahead while bringing their hand in from the side until they can see it to test peripheral vision.

Many eye problems can be corrected early on with eye drops and corrective lenses. Other tests may check for:

  • Color vision
  • Crossed eyes (strabismus)
  • Depth Perception
  • Eye misalignment viewing at near distance (convergence insufficiency)
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Lazy eye (amblyopia)
What to expect at a child's eye exam

Is it necessary to dilate a child’s eyes during an eye exam?

So your optometrist can effectively examine the inside of the eye (behind the iris), it is necessary to dilate your child’s eyes during a comprehensive eye exam. Dilation makes it easier to detect many eye conditions including glaucoma, retinal detachment, and diabetic retinopathy. The drops are safe and effective for kids of all ages.

Dilating eye drops: side effects

Depending on the dilation drop type and concentration, side effects generally only last 4-6 hours. Side effects can include:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Pupil enlargement
  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble focusing on close objects

Contact Heartland Vision for more information regarding pediatric eye exam tests. Our team of optometrists and trained opticians are happy to help with all your concerns.

When should I take my child to the eye doctor for the first time?

AOA recommends taking your child to an optometrist for an eye exam at 6 months. It’s especially important to do so if you have any suspicion of vision problems or if your child has a family history of vision impairment.

Preparation for the parent:

Preparing for your child’s first eye exam is simple. Your child’s optometrist will ask about your child’s medical history before the exam begins. Be ready to provide information about:

  • Allergies
  • Family medical history
  • Medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Primary care physician

For future eye exams, bring your child’s contact lenses or glasses to the appointment. If you have any concerns about your child’s eye health or have noticed symptoms such as headaches, squinting or watery eyes, let the optometrist know.

Preparation for the child:

It’s normal for your child to be nervous about getting an eye exam, especially if it’s their first time. There are several methods you can use to reduce their anxiety and make the appointment more enjoyable.

  1. Let your child know when the eye exam is scheduled.
  2. Visit the clinic ahead of time so they’re familiar and comfortable with the location.
  3. Bring them to your own eye exam so they see that it’s a painless experience.
  4. Explain the eye examination process in a way they’ll understand. Tell them about the tests with shapes and pictures and that the optometrist will shine a light to look into their eyes.
  5. Encourage questions from your child, and let them know they can ask the optometrist too.
  6. Bring a favorite toy or stuffed animal for them to hold.

After the eye exam:

After the exam, the optometrist will go over the results with you and recommend glasses, an eye patch or vision therapy. It’s normal for your child’s vision to be slightly blurred or sensitive to light for several hours if eye drops were used.

Subtle symptoms can sneak up on your child, especially if they don’t complain about them or have trouble putting their symptoms into words. This makes it important to keep up with routine eye exams to detect vision problems before they get worse.

Schedule a comprehensive eye exam appointment online at any of our Heartland Vision locations:

Preparing for a toddler eye exam
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