Has your child had an eye exam?
We all have our back-to-school shopping lists:
- Get school supplies
- Buy new shoes
- Schedule sports physical
- Pay classroom fees
- Attend Meet the Teacher
Something very important is missing from the list: making an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam for your children! Even if there are no complaints over the summer about blurry vision or headaches, children still need to have frequent eye exams. Just like their bodies are rapidly growing, children’s eyes are changing as well.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common condition in children which often develops around the age of 6 or 7. This condition results when the cornea is curved too much or when the eye is longer than normal. When light comes into the eye, it is focused in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina and the child’s vision is blurred. Nearsightedness can worsen rapidly, especially between the ages of 11 and 13, which means that an eye prescription can change dramatically over a short period of time.
Comprehensive eye exams can also detect other eye conditions besides nearsightedness. Some children may have good distance vision but may struggle when reading up close. This is known as hyperopia or farsightedness. Other eye issues such as strabismus (misaligned eyes), astigmatism or amblyopia (lazy eye) are also detectable through an eye exam. For some eye conditions, vision can be permanently affected if the problem is not corrected. Regular exams mean earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment.
Even a small change in vision can cause eye strain, headaches or blurred vision which can be very distracting while in school. Staying consistent with eye exams will help your children to have clear vision and be able to concentrate and perform to the best of their ability. With clearer vision, this school year will be the best ever! Schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam
Tips for Seeing Clearly this School Year
1. Get your child an eye exam before school starts.
The American Optometric Association recommends that children have their first comprehensive eye exam at age one, and again at age three. In addition, children of parents who wear glasses should have an eye exam every year after the age of five. Vision screenings are useful but often miss binocular vision disorders and hidden vision problems.
2. Kids should wash their hands regularly.
The tears and front surface of the eye form a mucous membrane that transmits germs easily. Some eye infections (particularly viral infections similar to the common cold) are extremely contagious. Kids tend to rub their eyes quite a bit, so clean hands will cut-down on eye infections.
3. Ensure children wear protective eyewear when playing sports.
Sporting follies are among the top cause of eye injuries. Even if a child does not need glasses to see, protective eyewear (sports goggles) is a must to guard against dust and dirt in the eyes, eyelid and corneal lacerations, and fractures of the bones that make up the eye socket or orbit.
4. Encourage kids to give their eyes a rest.
Excessive screen time can lead to eye-strain, blurred vision and even nearsightedness. Hand-held electronic (phones, tablets) and computer-use should be limited to 20 minutes at a time and no more than two hours a day – especially if someone in the family already wears glasses.