Does your Back to School Checklist include an Eye Exam?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), most of a child’s learning occurs through his or her eyes. Reading, writing and computer work are among the visual skills that students are required to perform daily. Add in the use of technology like laptops, tablets, smart phones and smart boards and these extra demands can add eye strain that could affect vision. Additionally, studies show that 86% of children start school without ever having a comprehensive eye exam.
And, while a vision screening done at your pediatric office or school can identify distance vision problems, the vision skills needed for successful reading and learning are much more complex. That’s why a comprehensive eye examination by an eye doctor is so important for children. Early detection and treatment provides the very best opportunity to correct vision problems so your child can learn to see clearly. Especially since children with vision problems frequently do not report symptoms because they think everyone sees the same way they do. And, undetected vision problems can interfere with learning and lead to academic and/or behavioral problems.
Some signs the AOA lists that may indicate a child has a vision problem are:
- Loses place while reading
- Avoids close work and tends to rub eyes
- Complains of headaches
- Holds reading material closer than normal
- Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
- Uses finger to maintain place when reading
- Omits or confuses small words when reading
- Consistently performs below potential
- Struggles to complete homework
- Squints while reading, working on computer or watching TV
Given the above, all students can benefit from a comprehensive eye examination to ensure they have the best possible vision and eye health to meet the demands of school work and extra-curricular activities. Beyond a vision screening, which typically measures distance clarity, a comprehensive eye exam can also include measurements of the potential need for eye glasses, eye alignment, depth perception, and color perception. Additionally, symptom-less, sight-threatening eye diseases, such as glaucoma or diabetes, can also be screened by eye pressure measurement and a pupil-dilated eye examination.
The AOA recommends that children receive a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years, or more frequently based on risk factors or as recommended by a child’s doctor. In between visits to the eye doctor, parents, as well as teachers, should keep a watchful eye out for some of the more prevalent signs that a child’s vision may be impaired.
Make eye exams part of the back to school routine. Call Dr. Mark Roy of Oakland Optometry at 248.373.6500 to schedule your eye exam appointments for your family.