Parents everywhere are racing to get the entire back to school checklist completed; school supplies, new clothes, bigger shoes and physical exams at the Pediatrician. Eye exams need to be worked in right at the top of that list. Good vision is the most basic fundamental necessity to be able to learn in school.
I hear all too often that parents rely on a screening that was done as part of a well-child check or in a school setting. Fact is this is simply a screening and not a substitute for a full comprehensive eye exam. While screenings can be very good at detecting nearsightedness or myopia (inability for a child to see clearly in the distance) they can miss farsightedness or hyperopia (inability to sustain focus at near), astigmatism, lazy eye and other eye teaming and ocular health related issues. Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms making it critical to have a full evaluation not just relying on the intuition that your child sees as he or she should.
A full eye exam includes many components to uncover any vision or eye health related issues. We begin with a through case history and many preliminary tests to include depth perception, color vision, eye muscle movements, peripheral or side vision and pupil testing. A refraction is done to check for any refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) as well as eye focusing and eye teaming. Once the vision is completely evaluated, eye health is evaluated with or without pupil dilating drops.
If a diagnosis is made our optometrists are well educated in discussing all of the available options to help your child succeed. There are many self-esteem, self-awareness, academic competence and athletic performance concerns that kids and parents have when deciding what is best for an individual child. Proper communication and team decision between patient, parent and eye doctor are critical.
There is no substitute for a comprehensive eye exam. We start Infant Assessments as part of a nationwide public health initiative called InfantSEE (InfantSEE.org) for infants between 6-12 months of age. The first full comprehensive eye examination should be done at age 3 years old. If there are no issues at 3 years old the child receives their second eye exam before Kindergarten and then every year or every other year throughout school depending on personal need and visual demands.
to schedule comprehensive eye exams for your whole family today!
Doing so could be the single best investment in your child’s education,
health and well-being.