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Back To School: Are Your Child’s Eyes Ready For The Classroom?

August 16, 2011

Everything you need to know about your child’s annual eye checkup.

Now that we have officially reached the middle of August (was that the fastest summer ever, or what?), it is almost time to start saying farewell to the summer sunshine and begin focusing on getting ready for the fall. For parents and children everywhere, this can only mean one thing―time to start preparing to head back to school.

The start of another year at school creates a long to-do list for many parents―new school supplies and clothing, meeting new teachers and finding new classrooms, and the annual back-to-school physical and check up that is essential for every child. However, what many parents often forget to include on their child’s back to school to-do list is their annual eye exam.

While many schools and pediatrician offices will do a basic vision test at the same time of your child’s physical, only a comprehensive eye exam by a vision professional can truly evaluate the abilities of your child’s eyesight. Without an eye exam, you child’s untreated eyesight could worsen and lead to many serious vision problems in the future, as well as impact their personality, learning ability and performance at school.

So, what do you need to know before scheduling your child’s back to school comprehensive eye exam? Here is some basic information about common child vision problems and just why an annual eye exam is so important:

Why Does Your Child Need A Full Eye Exam?

Many people are under the assumption that eye problems and diseases occur as we get older, therefore they do not understand the necessity for annual eye exams for children. However, one startling statistic that many parents do not know about is the fact that one in four school-age children has a vision problem, and most don’t even realize it.

Therefore, a comprehensive eye exam is essential for uncovering any serious eye problems that may affect your child’s sight and vision. When your child is brought in for a pediatric eye exam, they will be given tests to determine nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, eye coordination, eye focusing abilities and eye muscle function. Each one of these screenings is necessary to determine that you child has healthy vision.

What Are Some Signs of Vision Problems in Children?

Many children are not able to recognize a vision problem for what it is, therefore it is up to parents to keep a watchful eye out for certain signs of unhealthy vision. Some of these signs may include:

  • An eye that turns in, out, up or down frequently
  • Difficulty with hand-eye coordination
  • Watching TV at a close distance
  • Frequently rubbing the eyes
  • Closing one eye in order to see better
  • Holding reading material close to the eyes
  • Using a finger to maintain place when reading

While many vision problems in children are easily fixable, it is important that they are caught as early as possible in order to ensure that a more serious problem does not develop in the future. If your child is heading back to school this fall, be sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with a vision professional in order to make sure that this upcoming school year is a happy and healthy one.


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