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Eye Examinations for Children and Adults

Let’s try to answer some basic questions:

It is common for parents to THINK that their child has had an eye examination in school, or at the pediatrician’s office. In fact, your child has received a screening and not an examination. Your child has likely been tested to see how well they see at a DISTANCE of 20 feet. Unfortunately a child does most of their learning CLOSE UP – reading, doing puzzles, taking tests. So this vision screen gives parents, and children, a false sense of security and the mistaken impression that their vision is fine. There’s so much more to healthy vision than 20/20!

pediatric eye exam East Brunswick NJWe often hear the term “20/20”. Most people assume that 20/20 = perfect vision. But does it ?

What does 20/20 mean?

Many people think that 20/20 means “perfect vision”, but in reality, it only means that the person can see a specific size letter clearly on the standard eye chart that is 20 feet away. It is a measure of Visual Acuity at a Distance. There’s so much more to healthy vision than 20/20!

Our comprehensive vision exam goes beyond 20/20 to evaluate many important visual skills, such as:

Visual Acuity at Near

Is vision clear at reading distance? It is important to be able to see clearly at normal reading distance in order to be able to read, write, do close work, work on computer, etc.

Eye “Teaming” Skills

Do the two eyes aim, move, and work together, as a coordinated team? Each eye sees a slightly different picture, and if they can’t fuse (come together as one) then this (two-eyed) vision and eye teaming skills can cause many difficulties, including convergence insufficiency and poor depth perception.

Eye Focusing Skills

eye exam East Brunswick NJCan the eyes easily change focus and maintain a clear picture when changing from near (reading distance) to far (seeing the blackboard). Being able to do this quickly, accurately, and automatically at different distances is critical to learning, reading, writing, sports, etc. If someone can’t do this easily, it will cause that person to (visually) fatigue. This then causes difficulty with remembering what someone has just read (reading comprehension). A person with this type of difficulty might then choose to avoid doing close work.

Eye Movement Skills

Can the person control their eye muscles to fixate (lock on to what they are trying to look at)? Do they have the muscle control to then track across a page or follow an object that is moving? In the classroom, a child must be able to quickly and accurately shift their eye along a line of print, or from a book at their desk to the board at the front of the room. When copying from a book to a notebook, is the person able to shift from one to the other accurately? In sports it is important to move the eyes efficiently in order to have good eye-hand coordination, visual reaction time, and accurate tracking.

Reversal Frequency

Letter (b / d; p / q) reversals, and word reversals (saw / was) are acceptable up to the end of 1st grade. If they continue beyond the age of 6 or 7, it may indicate a visual perceptual dysfunction.

These are just a few of the many visual skills evaluated during our comprehensive vision exam. In addition, the health of your eyes, inside and out, is carefully evaluated for such problems as cataracts, glaucoma, hypertension, diabetes, etc.

When should a Child have an Eye Examination?

The American Optometric Association recommends that pre-school children receive a complete vision exam at the ages of 6 months, 3 years and 5 years. It is particularly important that a child have a complete evaluation in the summer prior to entry into Kindergarten. While in school, yearly evaluations are recommended.

How often should an Adult have an Eye Examination?

The American Optometric Association recommends a yearly eye exam for adults for several important reasons:

  1. to detect and to diagnose vision changes or problems
  2. to maintain eye health and general body health issues as early as possible.

An example of an eye health issue is Glaucoma, a disease caused by damage to the nerve that sends information from the eye to the brain. It is sometimes caused by increased pressure in the eye. It commonly goes unnoticed by adults because you can’t feel glaucoma. This is why glaucoma is called the “sneak thief of sight”. Regular vision examinations are also important for the prevention of vision problems created or aggravated by today’s academic and professional demands.

Our eyes are often the first indicator that we have an issue that affects our entire body, particularly in diseases such as Diabtes and High Blood Pressure. Other diseases as well are detected first by careful observation, including some brain tumors, skin tumors, Lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.

Our lifestyles have changed, both at work and at home. We require more of our vision than even before. One example is Computer vision Syndrome (CVS) which is one of the fastest growing health concerns in the workplace today.

Children and adults in our technological society constantly use their near vision at school, work, and at home. Environmental stresses on the visual system (including excessive computer use or close work) can sometimes induce headaches and/or visual difficulties which can be effectively treated with corrective lenses and/or Vision Therapy.