As the end of summer nears, children and their parents are preparing to go back to school. During this busy time of year, it’s easy for tasks such as the back-to-school eye examination to be forgotten. It is important to remember that vision and learning go hand-in-hand. To promote your child’s education and to set them up for success, visit your family optometrist before the school year ends. Here’s why the back-to-school eye exam should be a priority.
Detecting the Problem With an Eye Exam
Many children may not know they are having problems seeing, because their current vision is all they know. It is not uncommon for children to need glasses and not complain to their parents about blurriness. Beyond needing glasses or other forms of vision correction, there are other eye problems that can affect children and negatively impact their learning. Problems with binocular vision processing or visual perception may impact the way a child processes visual information, but not the way they see the 20/20 line on the eye chart. An optometrist will be able to not only assess whether or not your child needs glasses, but whether their complete visual system is working properly and efficiently. Not to mention, a thorough eye examination will evaluate ocular health and ensure that no silent eye diseases are present.
Vision’s Role in Learning
Children are highly visual in their learning styles. Visual processing, accommodation and focusing ability, visual attention, and the ability to track and follow are important skills for young children as they begin their academic career. When the visual system has deficits in these areas, they can sometimes be misdiagnosed as a learning disability. As mentioned earlier, an eye examination can help identify possible problems that could impact learning in the future.
What if My Child Passed a School Vision Screening?
While this suggests a vision problem is less likely, your child should still have a comprehensive eye exam before they head back to school, even if they recently passed a school screening. Screenings are wonderful tools that are oftentimes provided by schools, doctor’s offices, church groups, or other social organizations, and are great for identifying significant problems in vision. Unfortunately, some more subtle visual problems, especially those that could negatively impact learning, are more difficult to diagnose and will likely go undetected at a screening.
What Should We Expect At Our Children’s Eye Exam?
A children’s eye exam will entail a series of tests to assess visual function, determine whether or not a glasses prescription is required, and evaluate ocular health. The optometrist performing the exam will be able to perform the tests in a way that you and your child can easily understand in order to achieve the best results. Sometimes, the health portion of the evaluation requires eye drops that dilate the pupils, so a more thorough health examination can be performed. However, these are not always required every year and it is usually at the discretion of the doctor. Ask your optometrist if you are concerned about the tests that will be performed at your child’s back-to-school exam.