It’s back to school season, which means there is no better time than now to schedule an eye exam for your child. Back to school is an important time for your kids, and as a parent, you’ll want to make sure they start the new school year ready to learn. It is often overlooked, but one of the best things you can do for your kids before they start a new school year is to take them in for an eye exam. If you’re wondering why eye exams are so important for your children, here’s a quick explanation.
Better Academic Performance
You may be surprised to hear that a high number of children suffer from vision problems that go undetected every single year. Children are often not aware they have poor vision, and this can lead to lower academic performance. Children do a lot of reading and over 70% of learning in the classroom is visual, so vision impairment can be a factor in lower academic performance. As parents, we want to be able to detect the warning signs of visual problems in our children and get them checked by an eye care professional. This is why taking your children in for an eye exam before the start of a school year is so important; help your kids get off to a great start this year!
What to Look Out For
During back to school season, it is wise to monitor your children to see if they are experiencing any visual problems. The sooner we can spot the problem and address the issue, the better it is for vision development.
Here some symptoms to stay alert for:
- A lack of concentration
- Red, itchy, or watering eyes
- Excessive squinting and rubbing of the eyes
- Holding objects too close
- Standing too close to objects (i.e. the television)
- Avoiding reading books or watching television
If you notice your child is displaying any of these symptoms, book an eye exam at your local optometrist. It is recommended that children get checked as early as six months, and then annually throughout each calendar year once their schooling starts. Routine exams ensure the steady development of your child’s eyes and ocular health.
Routine checkups at the eye doctor will also allow us to examine your child’s eyes for anything unusual. One of the most important things we check for is amblyopia. More commonly known as a lazy eye, it is when the vision in one eye is significantly reduced, and this can be due to several factors. Amblyopia usually occurs early on in a child’s development and if caught soon enough, can be treated to improve the child’s vision. Some factors leading to amblyopia are:
- Large differences in prescription between the two eyes (this leads to each eye seeing different sized images)
- Misalignment of the eyes (crossed eyes)
- A clouding over the front part of the eye – known as cataracts
When any of the above circumstances occur, the affected eye simply just shuts off, and the child will depend on their good eye to focus. Binocular vision or the ability to use both eyes efficiently is important – this can be done with vision therapy, eyeglasses, contact lenses, patching etc.
There are usually no outwardly visible signs of amblyopia because the stronger eye will take over any visual tasks to compensate for the reduced vision in the poorer eye. To check for any signs of amblyopia schedule an appointment with your optometrist. The earlier the symptoms are caught, the better the chance for a complete recovery.
These are just a few key reasons why children’s eye exams are important – they assure the health and well-being of your child’s eyes, and having a good vision will allow your child to reach their full potential in all areas of life.