As another summer begins to wind down and you make the back to school list for your children don’t forget to include an eye exam at the top of your list! The American Academy of Optometry recommends comprehensive eye examinations at 6 months of age, 3 years, and prior to beginning school. A pediatric optometrist or ophthalmologist can evaluate a child’s refractive error, eye teaming ability, and ocular health all before they are able to verbalize what they can see. Early treatment is essential to eliminate preventable vision impairment in children. The majority of children with visual difficulties do not complain due to their inability to differentiate between clear and poor vision. Parents should be aware that a child with a vision problem may squint, sit or hold items at a very close distance, tilt their head to one side, cover or rub their eyes, or show no signs at all.
Approximately 80% of learning is visually based, therefore undetected and untreated visual problems can negatively impact a child’s ability to reach their full academic potential. Lastly, vision is not solely based on the ability to see “20/20,” during a visit with an eye care professional a child’s focusing ability and binocular (eye teaming) system will also be assessed.