Vision problems can affect many aspects of a child’s life, from athletics and academics to self-esteem and social interactions. Without annual comprehensive pediatric eye exams, many vision problems may go undetected or lead to a misdiagnosis of a learning disability or ADHD.
Many times, the lack of performance in school isn’t due to a learning disability but a vision problem. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than 600,000 children and teens have some sort of vision disorder.
Children need many skills to learn and succeed in and out of the classroom. As kids progress through their education, the demand for visual skills increases. According to the American Optometric Association, here are a few of the most important visual skills required for children to succeed and excel in the classroom:
Eye Focusing: Children should be able to maintain clear vision when looking at near objects such as a book, as well as when looking at distant objects, such as the chalkboard or a clock. The act of going back-and-forth between near and far is known as focusing.
Visual Acuity: Students should be able to clearly see at a distance to view the chalkboard, at an intermediate distance for the computer, and up close for reading a book. “Normal” visual acuity is 20/20 and represents what a well-seeing individual can see at a distance of 20 feet.
Visual Perception: Ability to organize visual information into letters, words, and thoughts.
Eye-Hand Coordination: Using visual information to direct and monitor the hands when trying to hit a ball or draw a picture.
Eye Teaming: Ability to use eyes together when reading a printed page, judge distances, and see depths for sports and classwork.
Eye Tracking: Keeping your eyes on target when reading printed text, looking from one object to another, or following a moving object.
You may remember going to the school nurse as a kid, covering your eye, and reading from an eye chart to determine whether you needed glasses. Unfortunately, these school screenings aren’t an adequate substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.
Though they might seem efficient, they don’t identify most eye conditions, and oftentimes school vision screenings can miss up to 75% of vision problems in children. Even when detected, an estimated 61% never follow up with an eye doctor. So, even if your child passed a school-based vision screening, eye care professionals strongly recommend regular comprehensive eye exams for kids.
Besides checking for refractive errors, a comprehensive pediatric eye exam asseses the health of a child’s eyes and how both eyes work together. Complete eye examinations are an important part of a child’s overall health care program.
Like many eye care services, pediatric eye examinations may be covered by vision plans and medical insurance such as Medicaid.
Help your children start their school year off right with a comprehensive eye examination from the caring doctors at Kopolow & Girisgen, Doctors of Optometry. It's easier than ever to schedule an eye exam. Schedule an appointment online or simply text GLASSES to 21000, and a member of our friendly team will be in touch!