Summer is the perfect time to get the errands done that will set your child up for success in the coming school year. Good vision and healthy eyes are extremely important for students who rely on seeing the screen or board, watching the teacher, and reading to facilitate learning. That’s why the board-certified ophthalmologists at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates of Denver, CO, recommend annual back to school eye exams for children.
Vision Screening vs. Eye Exams
Vision screenings are tests that can be performed by physicians, health care providers and others. It is a faster test to screen for any obvious eye concerns. Vision screenings do not necessarily pinpoint eye problems and health issues, such as diseases.
That’s why we recommend an eye exam before going back to school. Eye exams give a full view of the inside of the eye and can discover misalignment, refractive errors or diseases in their early stages.1
Common Childhood Vision Problems
Early detection is essential for vision difficulties such as:2
- Lazy eye (amblyopia)
- Crossed eyes or wandering eye (strabismus)
- Droopy eyelid (ptosis)
- Cloudy eye (cataract or other disease)
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Blocked tear duct
- Nearsightedness (myopia)
- Farsightedness (hyperopia)
Red Flags for Vision Problems in Your Child
You may have already noticed some behavior changes or struggles that your child is having and not realized it was vision-related. Here are some things to watch out for:3 losing place when reading out loud or silently, avoiding reading or close-up activities, tilting head sideways when reading or drawing, or having a shortened attention span. These are all signs that may mean your child is struggling to see or to cope with a vision problem.
Build Healthy Eyes
Wondering how you can help strengthen your child’s vision? Serving plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, E and A is a great place to start. Carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and apricots are especially good as support for healthy eyes. Citrus fruits, peaches, red bell peppers, tomatoes, avocados, leafy greens and almonds are also great choices.4
Playing outdoors is another way to build healthy eyes. One study showed that 40 minutes outdoors each day helped children reduce the risk of getting myopia as compared to children who stayed indoors and spent more time on screens or reading.5 Be sure to provide your child with UV-rated sunglasses or a hat for outdoor time.
There are toys and activities that can also help sharpen young, developing eyes. Provide your child with building block toys, puzzles, and fine motor skill games for improved eye-hand coordination. Weaving bracelets and stringing beads to make necklaces are also good activities to strengthen eyes. Artistic activities such as drawing, coloring and painting are also great for healthy vision. Ball handling skills from activities such as playing catch are also recommended to build coordinated vision.5
Finally, getting annual eye exams as your child grows and develops is essential in building healthy vision. Catching vision problems early can make all the difference in treatment as well as in your child’s success at school.
Annual eye appointments
It’s time to make your child’s eye exam appointment before school begins. Call one of our two Colorado locations in Denver or Lakewood for a time that works best for you. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are experienced with children and will provide some of the best vision care in the area.