Back to school can be a hectic time for parents. While kids are excited to go back to school, see their friends and meet their new teachers, you’re worrying about the fact that your child’s backpack has a mysterious hole going right through the bottom.
As you rush around to buy all the necessary school supplies and get your kid ready for the school year ahead, your child’s eye heath takes a back seat to it all. For some of you, you’ll brush it off because your child’s school provides screenings. For others, you’ll get to it later once you finish picking out a new backpack.
The truth is there really is no better time to get your children’s eyes checked than at the start of the school year. After three months of being in front of the TV or playing games on tablets and smartphones, your children’s eyes are in dire need of a check-up.
School Screenings Are Not Enough
So you’re lucky enough to send your child to a school that provides eye screenings at the start of the school year? That’s great! We’d never discourage an eye screening. But is this screening enough?
The answer is no. The screenings provided in school often just graze the surface. The main purpose for these screenings is to make sure that your child can see at a distance. For a school, making sure the children can see the board at the front of the class is their number one priority.
It’s not a bad priority to have, but being able to see at a distance is not an indication of healthy eyes. Eyes continue to develop late into their teen year. That means children’s eyes are constantly developing and changing.
Changing is the key word here. You child may have had perfect vision at age five, but then at age seven something goes wrong during the developing process and suddenly their left eyeball begins to wander to the side
Had they had a comprehensive eye exam at the age of six, perhaps the developing of a lazy eye could have been caught and treated immediately. By the very young age of seven it may already be too late to correct a lazy eye.
Amblyopia, otherwise known as lazy eye, is a condition that would likely go undetected in a typical school screening.
Children should go for a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. For children with existing conditions it should be twice a year (or more depending on the condition and your doctor’s wishes).
According to the American Optometric Association, 80 percent of learning for kids aged six to 18 is done visually. It makes sense when you think about it. In these formative years children learn to read, write, draw, solve math equations and so on. Without proper sight, doing so would almost be impossible.
Can you imagine how frustrating it must be for a young child with poor vision to not understand what’s going on in the classroom? This not only impedes the learning process, but it will damage your child’s confidence when it comes to school.
Children often don’t know they have vision impairments unless their eyes physically pain them. If a child doesn’t know that their lack of focus or difficulty learning is due to eyesight problems, they’ll think they aren’t as smart as everyone else.
School and growing up is hard enough without having to worry about your eyes. Relieve your child of that burden by simply taking them for an annual eye exam.
Misdiagnosed Learning Disabilities
Often when a child has trouble learning we have no problem chalking it up to a learning disability. Sometimes a child with a vision problem can be misdiagnosed with a certain learning disability because they can’t see what they’re learning.
If a child can’t see the words on the page in front of them, they may be diagnosed with something like dyslexia. Therefore, when your child it treated for dyslexia they won’t show any improvement because the problem lies in their eyes and not the brain.
This is far too common among young schoolchildren. The only way to get a proper diagnosis is to visit your family doctor and eye doctor. Getting multiple opinions never hurt.
Digital Eye Strain and Children
You had your child’s eyes tested in May before the summer vacation began and they results came back clean. The school screening is complimentary so you might as well take advantage of it, but don’t think to take your child back to the eye doctor again in September.
Sure, we get where you’re coming from, but sending your child back into the classroom after spending a summer with their eyes glued to their tablets and smartphones is bound to give their eyes a little shock.
Digital eye strain is a common vision condition among office workers and those who spend their days working in front of a screen. No, your children didn’t spend eight hours, five days a week on their screens but digital eye strain is quicker to affect their young, developing eyes.
Digital eye strain can cause dry eyes, itchy and red eyes, headaches, neck and back pains and fuzzy vision. Aside from itchy and red eyes, you wouldn’t be able to tell that your child had digital eye strain unless they told you. And unless your child is an avid reader of Rebuild Your Vision, chances are they won’t tell you.
It will be up to you to get your children the eye care they need because more often than not, children will think that what they’re experiencing is normal even when it isn’t. They don’t know any better, but you should.
Our advice to you here is not to take your children twice a year to the eye doctor. Instead, consider moving their annual eye exam back a few months to August or September so that their eyes are ready in time for school.
Take your children for a comprehensive eye exam this September to ensure a smooth school year.