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Children’s Eye Exams

For many children, their first vision screening happens at their elementary school. Studies show that these screenings are crucial for adolescents, but research is also finds that they’re not enough.

School Vision Screening Pros

Optometry students are encouraged to set up school vision screenings in their community. This is because the fourth most prevalent class of disability are vision problems, and 80% of what children learn comes through visual processing. Even though more than a third of American children between the ages of 12 and 17 are nearsighted, only 40% undergo vision screenings.

School vision screenings are a critical first step.

School Vision Screening Cons

Many optometrists stand behind school vision screenings, but they want parents to understand there’s only so much these screenings can do.

The Kirkwood Eye Institute finds that school vision screenings do not test for double vision, focus, tracking, perception, or dyslexia. VSP finds they also don’t test for farsightedness or color blindness. School vision screenings are sometimes facilitated by untrained staff, volunteers, or school nurses with inadequate equipment.

Professional Eye Exams

It is highly recommended that, after a school vision screening, your child undergoes a comprehensive eye and vision exam. At school, your child will receive a basic 20/20 vision test (how far can they see from 20 feet away). Here’s what an exam at an optometrist’s office includes:

  • Patient and family health history
  • Visual acuity measurement
  • Preliminary tests of visual function and eye health, including depth perception, color vision, peripheral (side) vision, and response of the pupils to light
  • Assessment of refractive status to determine the presence of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism
  • Evaluation of eye focusing, eye teaming, and eye movement abilities
  • Eye health examination
  • Additional tests as needed

Schools should continue with vision screenings, but parents cannot rely on them solely. Whether your children attend a school with vision screenings or are home-schooled, yearly eye exams are necessary for your family.

Posted in Blog, Vision on April 6th, 2018