Back to School Eye Exams for Children
Between buying school supplies and registering the kids for school, the end of summer can be a hectic time. Even if your to-do list seems endless, we recommend making back-to-school eye examinations a priority for your children. Even if your kids have no visual complaints and you don’t suspect an eye problem, a comprehensive exam is a good idea. Continue reading to learn why.
The Importance of a Back to School Eye Exams
Vision is a fundamental component of learning for many school-aged children. As children grow in the classroom, they rely on many aspects of the visual system to help them receive, interpret, and understand information. Visual skills such as accommodation and focusing, eye tracking, visual integration, and binocular vision function can play a role in a child’s ability to learn. When these aspects of the visual system are not properly or efficiently working, a child can struggle in the classroom, occasionally leading to the misdiagnosis of a learning disability. A comprehensive back-to-school eye examination can help identify some of these potential eye problems and prevent academic frustration.
Beyond 20/20 Vision
Whether or not you suspect that your child has vision problems, an eye examination before the start of the school year is a good idea. Children who need vision correction with glasses may not know what a clear image looks like, so they do not complain about blurred or unclear vision. Beyond detecting whether or not your child needs glasses, a back-to-school exam can evaluate whether any other visual processing problems are present that may negatively affect academic performance. Your family optometrist is well trained in identifying potential problems with your child’s eyes, even if you do not suspect something is wrong.
Vision Screenings vs. Eye Examinations
Many schools, churches, or community organizations will offer complementary vision screenings. These events may or may not be performed by trained eye care professionals, and are designed to identify major problems in the visual system. They typically roughly evaluate visual acuity, ocular alignment, and the health of the eyes, and are a beneficial public health tool. However, even if your child recently passed a vision screening, a comprehensive eye examination is still recommended. Many of the problems that could potentially impact learning are easily missed during a routine vision screening.
Preparing for Your Child’s Eye Exam
To begin your child’s eye exam, the optometrist will likely ask you a series of questions of questions regarding the child’s visual activities and habits. Depending on the age of your child, the doctor can perform a combination of objective and subjective tests to assess visual acuity and visual function. These tests will be performed in a way that is simple and easy for your child to understand. Occasionally, the ocular health portion of the exam will require dilation drops, which temporarily enlarge your child’s pupils so the retina can be assessed. These eye drops usually cause some temporary discomfort, but do not have any lasting effects. Additionally, they may not be required every year.
Your family optometrist is more than happy to answer any questions you, or your child, may have about children’s eye exams.
You can schedule your next appointment with us online!