FREE Vision Tests for 3 Year Olds Offered in KC

This post is sponsored by the Eye Care Council. Find a participating optometrist and schedule your FREE See to Learn assessment today!

When I was 8, we moved from the Independence/Raytown side of Kansas City to the northland. I started a new school and during that year, the teacher noticed I couldn’t see the blackboard and told my parents to get my eyes checked. That was 33 years ago and I still need glasses to this day (thankfully not the bigger-than-my-face pink ones that I picked when I was 8).

Since having kids, I’ve always wondered if they would have the same lot in life with my poor vision. I brought my boys in for checkups before they started elementary school – my older one sees fine and the other one is slightly farsighted and has prescription glasses for reading. I hadn’t thought about getting Anna checked yet as she is so young, until I learned about the See to Learn program from The Eye Care Council.

The See to Learn Program was developed by The Eye Care Council as a preventative program to help make sure every child’s early education is unaffected by vision problems. Through See to Learn, parents can schedule a FREE vision assessment for their 3 year old in a participating optometrists office regardless of insurance.

I brought Anna in to see Dr. Melissa Price at Hahn Price Vision Center. The assessment was quick and easy and super child friendly. Dr. Price was so good with Anna (she has twin boys herself) and each step of the process was a “fun game” where Anna got to win a prize in the end. They even told her the chair was a roller coaster that could move up and down, so she wasn’t scared of all the equipment around her.  The assessment consisted of the following checks:

  • Acuity – this was to check how well Anna could see. They used a combination of images and letters so it was easy for her to pick out what was in front of her.
  • Fixation and Tracking – this checked if Anna could fixate on a target (a kitty cat in this case) and if she could follow it smoothly as it moved.
  • Reflexes – they checked her pupils with a flashlight
  • Refraction – this was a fun game with a hot air balloon on a screen and can tell Dr. Price if Anna would need prescription glasses; much better than the adult version of which looks better option 1 or option 2 over and over again.
  • Health of exterior and interior of eyes.

Dr. Price informed me that Anna was slightly farsighted but didn’t need a prescription. Most kids are born far sighted and that will correct itself as they get older. She did mention Anna had “allergy eyes” and gave me some tips for helping if she complains or if they get worse– ice packs, cool rag or over the counter drops.

Dr. Price shared with me a few things to keep an eye on and how to keep track of your children’s vision at home. Some of these can be early indicators of potential vision problems.

  • Play a game with your children where they cover one eye and try to grab an object. Pay attention whether they fidget, this would be an indication they can’t see the object clearly.
  • Watch their behavior at home. Are they suddenly squinting, leaning closer to TV or books or all of a sudden scared to climb stairs?
  • Frequent rubbing or blinking of the eyes.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Poor hand eye coordination.

Dr. Price recommends all children come in for the FREE See to Learn assessment at age 3 so they get a baseline and find any issues before they develop into bigger ones. Children don’t know they can’t see and the See to Learn assessment can tell you that early on. After the initial assessment, you can wait 1-2 years for the next vision exam and definitely get one right before Kindergarten. Anna will be back next summer before my last baby goes to big kid school (sigh).

Find a participating optometrist and schedule your FREE See to Learn assessment today!

Laura is wife to Marty, and mom to Michael (11), Joseph (9) and Anna (5). She spends most of her days juggling working from home, shuffling kids to activities and can usually be found cheering on the boys from the baseball stands. She is born and raised in Kansas City, graduated from KU (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!) and has spent most of her career in advertising sales. She loves big Italian family dinners, trying out new restaurants in Kansas City on a rare date night and can never say no to an impromptu dance party with her kids.