Why an Eye Exam is the First Test Your Kid Should Have this School Year
Pencils, notebooks, scissors and crayons are filling the backpacks of millions of Americans in preparation for the start of a new school year. One thing that many children are lacking, however, can dramatically affect their academic performance.
Undiagnosed vision problems are quite common in school age children and often result in poor grades. Many children with vision problems do not realize that their vision is a problem. Some parents believe that their child will let them know that their vision is not very clear. However, we find that this is often not the case. This is because children typically do not realize that they should be seeing better than they do.
A vision screening is the first step in helping uncover any potential vision issues. These screenings should be performed annually as part of a pediatric well visit. At Rainbow Pediatrics, we are pleased to offer the most advanced technology for vision screening, Spot Vision Testing. This tool goes beyond a standard Snellen eye exam, where a child has to read letters on a chart twenty feet away. Instead, a camera takes a series of images, which are then analyzed to detect if their vision is “in range” or “out of range.”
Vision screenings do not replace comprehensive eye examinations with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. They merely help alert the potential for vision problems so the child can be further examined by an eye care professional. According to the American Optometric Association, eye exams should begin no later than six months of age. They should occur again at age three and before starting kindergarten. School-age children should receive an eye exam every two years unless a vision problem is detected, in which case it is recommended they be seen annually.
Signs and Symptoms of Vision Problems:
- Holding books close to see what is on the page
- Headache complaints
- Sitting too close to the television
- Squinting or tilting head to see better
- Eye rubbing
- Avoiding activities that use near vision, such as reading
- Receiving poor grades in school
The best thing you can do in preparation for school this year is an eye exam. Remember, a vision screening only tells part of your child’s vision story. If you have questions about your child’s vision, please schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric providers by calling 910-486-5437.