It's that time of year again. As summer comes to an end, the all too familiar rush of "Back to School" begins for many parents and children alike. With all the commotion and changes that this time of year brings, don't forget about how important eyes are in your child's learning. Studies indicate that as much as 80% of what your child learns in school is presented visually. This is just one of the reasons it is so important to ensure that your child has good eye health.
So, how often should you have your child's eyes checked? All children should have a baseline examination by the age of 1 year. This initial examination is important in ruling out structural defects, diseases, disorders, and large barriers to healthy eyes and vision. If all findings are normal at your child's initial visit, most eye care providers will then recommend exams at least every 2 years thereafter. A good rule of thumb is to remember to have your child's eyes examined at age 1, 3 and 5. Keep in mind that "screenings" and reading the eye chart at vision fairs or pediatrician visits are not substitutes for comprehensive dilated exams and may miss refractive errors, diseases, or other disorders.
Another thing to know is that children don't often complain about blurry or uncomfortable vision. If a child has always had difficulty, they may assume their symptoms are normal. It is also hard, at times, for children to articulate issues or difficulties with their health, especially when it comes to vision. Some symptoms of ocular health and vision issues to watch for include
- Headaches or eye strain
- Blurry or double vision
- Crossed or misaligned eyes
- Short attention span while reading or performing tasks at near
- Losing place while reading, or using a finger to "follow along"
- Slow reading speed or poor reading comprehension
- Poor eye-hand coordination
- Dislike or avoidance of reading or near work
- Turning or tilting the head to use one eye only
- Frequently closing or covering one eye
Have questions about your child's eye health? Let us know and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Since August is National Eye Exam Month, it is the perfect time to ensure your child has perfect visual health!
~ Dr. Jacqueline Clark