Parents have many hopes for their children as kids head back to school in the fall, and moms and dads often do all they can to help make sure the year starts off well. Many parents arrange activities with the idea that their kids will make new friends, and most buy supplies to help ensure their students are prepared academically. While it may not top the usual autumn to-do list, one thing you can do to ensure your child is set up for a great year is take him or her in for an annual eye exam.
According to the American Optometric Association, one in four elementary-age children have undetected vision problems. If left untreated, these issues can negatively impact not only a child’s grades, but also his or her behavior in school and even personality.
The AOA has found that as much as 80% of a child’s learning is done through his or her eyes. Common vision problems that may affect a child’s experience in the classroom and activities include:
Nearsightedness (myopia) – the inability to see things clearly unless they are close to the eyes
Farsightedness (hyperopia) – the inability to see things clearly especially if they are close to the eyes
Astigmatism (distorted vision) – blurs or distorts both near and far objects
Eye focusing, eye tracking, and eye teaming problems – these include the ability to quickly and accurately focus vision as object distances change (focusing), the ability to keep eyes on target as they move from one object to another (tracking), and the ability to use both eyes together in movement and in judging distance (teaming)
It’s important for parents to note that vision screenings, often done at school, are no substitute for eye exams. Screenings typically test for visual acuity (how well one can see over a distance) and not much more. Comprehensive eye exams assess ocular health – where a practitioner will check for signs of eye disease – as well as vision, to determine if any lens correction is needed. These exams consist of a series of simple, non-intrusive tests that help technicians and doctors evaluate both vision and eye health.
In between annually scheduled eye exams, parents can keep an eye out for signs that a child may have a vision problem. Some of these signs are:
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Complaints of headaches and/or tired eyes
- Closing or covering one eye to watch TV or read
- Short attention span
- Holding books or tablets too close to her face, or sitting too close to the TV
- Tilting the head to see better
- Losing his place while reading and/or using a finger to track
- Avoiding activities which require near (reading, homework) or distance vision (sports)
Annual eye exams are vital because children’s prescriptions and eyes can change frequently during school years. Good eye health and performance are necessary to ensure a good year in the classroom, activities, and beyond. To schedule an eye exam for your child, contact Uptown Eye Care today.