Pop quiz time: What’s one of the most important things you need to do as a parent before the new school year rolls around? The answer: Schedule back to school eye exams for your whole family!
Back to School Eye Exams are a Must
There’s little question about it: Back to school eye exams are a critical component to your child’s health and quality of life. Why? Because your child’s vision will affect virtually every aspect of academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities.
Interestingly, many common eye problems first develop in young, school-aged children. If left undiagnosed and untreated, these visual problems can disrupt your child’s ability to pay attention in class. Unfortunately, in some cases, children with visual problems end up being misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD or another type of learning disorder. Hence, it is essential to make sure that your child’s eyesight is in top condition. This ensures that all of their unique needs are met, and that they are able to participate to the best of their ability in school.
So, what kind of eye problems will an eye care provider look for in your child?
— Myopia, or nearsightedness: This makes it difficult to see things far away, like a whiteboard in the classroom.
— Hyperopia, or farsightedness: This makes it difficult to see things close up, like words in books or images on a smart phone.
— Amblyopia, or “lazy eye”: Essentially, one eye has poorer vision compared to the other eye. But this shouldn’t be confused with another common childhood eye problem called strabismus, or “crossed eye,” in which one eye deviates in a different direction compared to the other eye.
These and other conditions often develop anywhere between the ages of 6 to 13, and can quickly change as your child grows – much more quickly than they typically change in adults. This is why regular, comprehensive eye exams are so important for children, especially if a specific eye health condition has been detected. Prescription eyewear and other treatments – like medicated eye drops, vision therapy, and patching – will need to be adjusted in order to match the developmental progress of your child.
Regularity is key: The American Optometric Association recommends a comprehensive eye exam for your child at 6 months of age, 3 years of age, 5 or 6 years of age, and then once every 2 years until age 18 or once every year if your child requires any vision correction treatment.
In addition to looking at the inside of your child’s eye, your eye care provider will likely perform a few other tests of your child’s vision during a back to school exam, including:
— Visual acuity tests
— Binocular vision
— Eye tracking skills
— Eye-hand coordination skills
— Peripheral vision
The Benefits of an optomap Eye Exam
Everyone should have their eyes regularly examined by an eye care professional who uses optomap® technology. optomap is the only technology that can show up to 200⁰ of the retina which will facilitate early detection of eye health diseases, but it can also help protect you or your loved ones from developing a preventable eye health disease in the first place, since early warning signs can be more easily detected and rectified.
Getting an optomap image is fast, painless, and comfortable. Nothing touches your eye at any time, making it suitable for your whole family. During the exam, you’ll look into the device one eye at a time, like looking through a keyhole, and a comfortable flash of light will let you know the image of your retina has been taken.
The capture takes less than half a second, and images are immediately available for review. You’ll be able to see the whole retina – exactly what your eye care provider sees – even in a 3D animation!
Set your children up for success this school year by scheduling their annual or semi-annual back to school eye exams! To find an eye care professional near you who uses optomap technology, click here.