It’s back to school time again and parents are busy buying backpacks, lunch bags and gym clothes, but one of the most important things that is often overlooked is making sure your child has an eye exam. Since vision can change rapidly as a child grows, it is important to have an annual checkup to make sure your child can see up close to read a book as well as to see the whiteboard at a distance.
Increased screen time is a major concern
With the tremendous spike in screen time for children caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shifting learning online, it is more important than ever to have your child’s eyes examined at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates. This increasing habit of computer, TV, video game and cell phone use for long periods of time has had a profound effect on accelerating cases of myopia in children.
Eye exams vs. vision screenings
Early detection of vision problems can set your child up for success in school this year. If you’ve been relying on school vision screenings, it is important to know that they are not enough. According to the American Optometric Association, up to 75% of vision problems go undetected in school vision screenings.
Unlike vision screenings, which only test a child’s reaction to visual clarity up to 20 feet, eye exams conducted by a board-certified ophthalmologist will examine overall eye health and potential diseases, refractory conditions, color vision, tracking, and acuity.
Learning is mostly visual
Since learning is 80% visual, it is important to make sure your child is set up for success by having an annual eye exam. Undiagnosed vision problems are common, affecting 1 in 4 children in the United States. This can have a tremendously negative impact on a child’s education as well as participation in sports and other activities.
Corrected vision can help
If your child is struggling at school, it is possible that vision problems are making things worse. Once a child has corrected vision, he or she often sees improvements in school performance. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, tired eyes and distraction issues can all be indicators that there might be a vision issue.
Watch out for warning signs
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) describes four hidden warning signs that your child may be struggling with vision problems:
- Concentration problems – a short attention span may be an indicator that your child has problems seeing clearly
- Skipping lines – if your child frequently loses his place while reading, it could be a vision problem
- Avoidance – if your child avoids reading or doing close-up work, it could be because he or she is not able to see it
- Laying head down – if you notice your child will lay his head down when drawing, writing or reading, or tips it to the side, then it could be caused by a refraction error that is helped by looking out of the side of the eye
Start them early
When should you take your child to the ophthalmologist? The AAO recommends the following schedule for infant and childhood eye exams:
- Newborn – screening for basic health
- 6-12 months – screening for healthy eye alignment and movement
- 12-36 months – photoscreening test to check for lazy eye
- 3 to 5 years – vision and eye alignment check and visual acuity check
- 5 years – eye exam
- Over 5 – yearly eye exam
Make an appointment today
Spots are filling up fast, so call today for an appointment for your child and come to one of our two Colorado locations for an eye exam. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are experienced with children and able to offer some of the best vision care in the region.