Back to School Eye Exam
Eighty percent of everything a child learns is acquired through his or her visual system. According to the American Optometric Association, about sixteen percent of all children suffer from inadequate visual skills and up to ninety-four percent of children with reading problems have reduced visual skills.
While a comprehensive eye examination is recommended in all school age children, there are specific symptoms that parents should be looking for in their children.
In preschool and kindergarten, parents should ask themselves:
Are my child’s eye aligned properly or does one turn inward or outward?
Does my child frequently rub his or her eyes or blink excessively when doing near work?
Does my child experience difficulty recognizing colors, shapes, letters, and numbers?
In elementary school, parents should ask children and themselves:
Do words seem to “swim” on a screen or in a printed book?
Does the child lose their place frequently when reading?
Does the child experience frequent headaches during the school week or when performing close up visual work?
Are my child’s grades high in non-visual classes and lower in other more visually-focused classes like math or reading?
In middle and high school, parents can stay involved by knowing:
How long can my child read before they need to take a visual break?
Does my child perform with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency?
Does my child experience discomfort, fatigue, or have a short attention span?
The American Optometric Association also warns that one in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem simply because they may not recognize that their eyesight isn't optimal or is changing.
"Comprehensive eye exams are one of the most important investments a parent can make to help maximize their child's education and contribute to overall health and well-being, especially since some vision problems may not have warning signs," says Dr. Kimberly Friedman, AOA spokesperson and pediatric vision specialist. "Unfortunately, parents and educators often incorrectly assume that if a child passes a school screening, their vision is fine."
Having a comprehensive vision exam for your child can be one of the most important parts on your back to school checklist.
Source: American Optometric Association