The importance of children’s eye exams
(Family Features) As the school year marches on, parents and children are always thinking about supplies, clothes and paperwork. While vision exams are not always prioritized, they definitely should not be overlooked as a part of your annual routine.
According to research, 10 million children in America have vision problems that have not been detected. As 80 percent of learning comes through a child’s eyes, parents must be sure to take their children for an annual eye exam performed by an optometrist. The vision screenings offered by schools are often inadequate and a comprehensive eye exam can make the difference in how much a child can succeed in school. Eye health affects various facets of a child’s life, such as:
- Academically: Children must be able to focus the eyes, use them as a team and move them successfully in order to ensure effective learning. Reading, writing, chalkboard work and using computers are among the visual tasks students are asked to perform daily using skills such as recognition, comprehension and retention. Furthermore, as technology has become such a crucial aspect of education, children are becoming even more susceptible to digital eye strain or vision problems from overexposure to computers. Eye issues can cause poor performance in school, such as difficulty paying attention or completing homework.
- Socially: If a child has a hard time with school due to a vision problem, this can affect his or her self-confidence. As vision issues can cause poor performance in places like the classroom or on the playground, a child could show signs of doubt or uncertainty because their friends are able to see properly. Avoiding reading or social interaction may also be indicators of a vision problem. Additionally, if a child is experiencing headaches or eye pain, this can hinder the desire to be social and spend time with friends.
- Athletically: Naturally, children’s ability to do their best at a sport or athletic activity heavily relies on their vision. Whether a child is playing catch for fun or participating as part of a competitive sports team, his or her performance depends on a healthy set of eyes.
- Emotionally: Signs of vision problems include eye discomfort, headaches, blurry or double vision, poor school performance and difficulty focusing, all of which can have a negative impact on a child’s emotional health.
An exam with a California Optometric Association (COA) doctor of optometry can assess your child’s vision and take measures to help correct any problems. Personalized comprehensive eye exams do more than just determine prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses, however. They also include patient history, visual acuity, keratometry, refraction, eye focusing and movement, and eye health evaluation tests that check for common eye diseases and systemic diseases, like high blood pressure and diabetes.