Where did the summer go?! As much fun as summer days have been, many parents and kids are already in back-to-school mode.
Back-to-school checklists generally include:
- school supplies
- new clothes and shoes
A critical item that is missing from this checklist is a comprehensive eye examination!
You want your child to do the best in school this year. To help your child succeed, it is important to schedule your child for a comprehensive eye examination at our office, Family Eye Care in Old Bridge.
Why Do Children Need an Eye Examination every year?
Research has shown that up to 80% of classroom learning occurs through a child’s vision. Children learn about the world through their senses, and vision is the most important sense that helps us gain information into our brain. If a child can’t physically focus, for example, they often become frustrated when they try to read. If a child has headaches when reading or doing their math homework, or avoids doing those things, that's an indicator that there may be a is a vision problem. If your child has trouble concentrating or acts out in class, that too may mean that they have a vision problem. These problems at NEAR are often not identified by a pediatrician, school nurse, or by an ophthalmologists, because they typically test how a child sees the Snellen Chart at DISTANCE. That test does not tell us how someone functions at NEAR, where we do most of our reading and learning.
Issues with vision may make it challenging to read, do written work, focus, catch a ball and even socialize with their peers. A child’s vision can affect every part of their life, both inside and outside the classroom.
Many children don’t realize that the source of their reading problem is a vision issue, and even parents and teachers are often not aware. Children assume that they see the same way that everyone else does. That is precisely why a pediatric eye exam by a Developmental Optometrist is so important for your child's school success.
Our office is geared for children and we have the experience to know what tests need to be done. We even see infants and toddlers. We test children’s eyesight, eye health and visual skills like eye teaming and tracking. With our training, we are able to do an examination even if a child doesn't know their letters !! We can do tests and figure out what a child is seeing even if they can't tell us what they are seeing. But, we can't do it alone. We need to you to partner with us so that we can help your child receive the care they need so they can succeed.
When Should You Take Your Child For an Eye Exam?
The first eye examination should be at 6 months of age. Although some people think this may be too young, it is critically important so we can identify problems as early as possible. If your child’s vision is developing normally, their next visit should be at age 2-3 and again before entering 1st grade.
After that, your child should have an eye exam every year that they are in school. You should add this to your 'back-to-school' checklist!
Support your child’s success in school! Call our office to schedule your child’s appointment. 1-732-679-2020
Is a comprehensive Eye Examination the same as a school vision screening?
No. School vision screenings, which are very basic, are not a substitute for a comprehensive eye examination. During the examination we assesses the internal and external health of your child’s eye as well as their vision. The eye doctor will evaluate eye movement, eye teaming, depth perception, peripheral vision and more. The earlier a problem is found, the sooner treatment can begin.
What are some signs that your child is having vision problems?
Some common signs of vision problems are frequent headaches, avoiding reading and doing other activities up-close. Other symptoms may include rubbing the eyes frequently, short attention span, or tilting the head to one side. If you notice any of these, please do your child a service and help them succeed by scheduling them for a comprehensive eye exam.
Wouldn't the Pediatrician find a vision problem?
Although your pediatrician may be wonderful when it comes to diagnosing and treating an ear infection or bronchitis, they are not expert in the visual system. In the same way you likely take your child to see a pediatric dentist, it is important to see a pediatric Developmental Optometrist to make sure that your child's eyes are healthy and normal, and to make sure their visual system is working the best, so your child has the best chance to succeed in school.
Unfortunately it is not unusual for us to see children who are 6 or 7 who have a lazy eye (amblyopia) that had not been identified by the pediatrician. This is an example of a problem that could, and should be identified early, but is often missed by a doctor who is looking primarily for medical (rather than vision) issues.