It is back-to-school season and it is time to get your child new clothes, binders, backpacks, and pencils! One of the most overlooked task before starting school is the eye exam. Studies show that one out of every four children has a vision problem and only 50 percent of parents with children under the age of 12 have taken their children to the eye doctor.
Many parents may be relying on vision screenings at school or at the pediatrician’s office to check for vision problems. The vision screenings are a good starting point, but many conditions can be overlooked. During a vision screening letters are read at a distance (while looking for away). However, reading vision is not evaluated and problems with reading can be easily missed. A child could easily pass a vision screening, but not be able to see well enough to read a book.The most common eye condition that can be missed is farsightedness, where things are clear far away but blurry up close. Another condition is eye coordination, if the eyes are not focusing properly this will not be detected in a vision screening. A yearly eye examination is a must to ensure that children can learn to the best of their ability. Children’s eyes change very quickly which can have a negative impact on their performance in school. The good news is that most vision problems can be corrected with early detection. Do not rely on vision screenings to keep your child’s vision healthy. Going to the eye doctor at least once a year is just as important as going to yearly medical appointments.