Regular eye exams are important regardless of age or health because vision is more than reading an eye chart. As such your vision exam is more comprehensive than just determining a prescription for glasses or contact lenses.
Your exam will test functional vision skills such as peripheral vision, eye teaming, eye movements and focusing ability, all of which are important aspects to ones vision. Since these skills are critical for computer work it is important any problems be addressed so you can work on a computer more efficiently and comfortably.
One of the most important aspects of a vision exam is assessing the health of your eyes to detect any signs of eye disease or systemic diseases affecting the eye. Many eye diseases like glaucoma don't have any symptoms until late in the disease process, but can be detected in the early stages during a routine eye exam. The health of the eyes also gives us an overview of one's systemic health. Systemic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol affect the blood vessels in the eye and are often first detected during an eye exam.
Although children are tested differently, we are able to assess the same skills tested during an adult exam. We use different techniques and play games with the kids in order to assess their vision and ocular skills. Because objective testing is used to determine vision and function skills the individual does not need to be able to communicate. It is recommended vision exams be done between 3-12 months, 3 years, 5 years and yearly thereafter. If the child is at a higher risk level due to premature birth, developmental delays, a noticeable eye problem or a family history of eye disease, the child may need to be seen more frequently.
It is true that as children grow, their vision can change quickly, but just as important is to make sure the visual skills are developing as expected and the child is meeting the expected developmental milestones. This is critical as visual skills like focusing ability and accurate eye movements directly affect ones ability to read and learn. Did you know 80% of classroom learning takes place through the visual system? Although we appear to perform many subjective tests on children, we are relying on our objective testing to tell us how a child sees, if they are having issues and indeed need glasses. So don't be worried if you have a young one that is really excited to get glasses as we will be able to determine if they actual need them or if they are just trying to convince us they do.