It’s August, and that means it’s National Children’s Vision Month! Back-to-school season is also here, and there couldn’t be a better time than before your child returns to the classroom to take them to the eye doctor. One out of four school-age children suffer from some type of uncorrected vision problem, which can seriously impair their success in the classroom. Children are not always able to recognize by themselves that blurry vision or struggling to see near or far is actually a concern. And vision problems aren’t always issues with blurry vision, but rather eye alignment and focusing issues that lead to struggles in school, despite the fact they can see the classroom board clearly.
A routine school eye screening by an optometrist is necessary to detect vision problems and maintain overall optical health. You may have believed a school or pediatrician vision screening is enough. These are brief exams that evaluate visual acuity, the ability to read small letters or see a picture on a chart. These screenings are not comprehensive and can’t evaluate the way your child’s eyes work while reading or doing school work, nor can they adequately evaluate your child’s eye health. This means many vision problems aren’t detected, contributing to your child struggling in their academics or athletics.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it’s recommended that children receive an eye evaluation once before the age of 3, and at least every one to two years until the age of 19. Preschoolers should see a pediatric optometrist to ensure their eyes are aligned and focusing properly to address developing issues and halt progress down the road. During adolescence, a person’s eyesight can change rapidly and often, especially impacted by puberty, so they should continue to receive annual checkups. Of added importance, detecting myopia early is key as we now have FDA-approved technologies like the MiSight lens to slow the progression of near-sightedness or myopia. So we can now actually do something about your child’s prescription getting worse every year using myopia control techniques.
Scheduling an eye exam with your child’s optometrist before school begins will ensure they start the school year with the best overall vision to succeed! It eliminates the concern that vision or eye health could be interfering with your child achieving their highest academic potential. Proper eyesight can also prevent headaches, fatigue, and lack of focus in the classroom. You should also have your child’s lens prescription checked and kept up-to-date, especially if they are active in team sports or have a new classroom seat each year. Being proactive in ensuring your child regularly visits an optometrist is essential. After all, they own their eyes for life!