A Complete Guide to Back-to-School Eye Exams and Vision Tests for ChildrenHarsh Kumar
Bag, notebook, pencil, lunch box and water bottle? You’ll surely have your kids ready for another school year with a proper back-to-school checklist, right? But you’re missing out on ‘Back-to-school Eye Exams’—probably the most important thing you can do to prepare your little ones for school. While certain schools may request an updated eye health form, it is not a standard obligatory procedure across all schools.
For parents, it can be tempting to rely on school-offered eye tests or screenings, they should be aware that such acuity tests cannot detect all eye conditions.
That’s the reason why we at Eyes on Brickell always recommend a Comprehensive Eye Exam for your kids. Our experienced optometrists, led by Dr. Antoine Copty, use this test to diagnose and treat a variety of vision problems in children before the start of the new school year.
Let’s take a look at some important things you as a parent should know about back-to-school eye exams and vision tests:
The Connection Between Vision and Learning
According to a report by the American Optometric Association (AOA), eyes are their most important learning tool as almost 80% of what they learn involves the eyes. Research also shows that there is a link between academic performance and vision (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30221376/). Unnoticed vision problems can affect a child’s ability to learn and understand things.
Therefore, getting an eye exam and vision test right before starting the new school year is just as important as getting them all the supplies they need.
Especially considering the fact that screens are becoming an essential learning tool for children today, your child may also be spending almost twice as much time on screens. This can put your child at risk of digital eye strain with symptoms like dry eyes, eye pain, eye fatigue, headache, blurred vision etc.
Being primary visual learners, your children also need to be better at certain things such as hand-eye coordination, binocular coordination, eye movement skills, focusing skills, distance and near vision. And all of this can be greatly affected by how good or better their current eye health is.
What is Back-to-School Eye Exam?
A back-to-school eye exam is a comprehensive visual assessment conducted before the academic year begins. The main objective to conduct this exam is to ensure children’s eyes are healthy and their vision is optimal for learning. Detecting issues early can aid academic success and overall well-being.
Reasons Why Back-to-School Eye Exams are Important for Kids
- Learning and Developmental Issues: Not detecting some eye conditions at school age can make it difficult to detect and prevent potential learning and developmental issues.
- Increased Discomfort: Unnoticed vision problems can lead a child to eye strain, headaches, and discomfort while reading and screen time.
- Behavioral Changes: Problems with the vision of your kid can lead him to irritability, which can further result in decreased attention.
- Worsen Social Interaction: Unidentified vision issues can hinder a child’s ability to engage with peers and surroundings.
- Academic Struggles: Unclear vision can reduce a child’s academic success in reading, writing, and understanding classroom material.
- Safety Concerns: Poor vision can create safety concerns over a student’s active and safe participation in sports and physical activities.
Noticeable Signs of Vision Problems in Children of School Age
- Squinting, Headaches.
- Losing place while reading.
- Rubbing eyes and Poor hand-eye coordination.
- Trouble recognizing shapes/colors/letters.
- Avoiding reading.
- Holding objects very close.
- Skipping lines while reading.
- Short attention span.
- Light sensitivity.
- Tilting head.
- Messy handwriting.
- Blurry vision.
Benefits of Back-to-School Eye Exams
- Early Detection: Identifying potential vision issues early allows for prompt intervention and treatment.
- Academic Success: A clear vision is essential for effective learning, reading, and classroom participation.
- Behavioral Improvement: Better vision improves attention, which reduces irritation and behavioral difficulties.
- Improved Social Interaction: Healthy vision facilitates interaction with peers, boosting self-esteem.
- Preventing Learning Barriers: Addressing visual issues helps to avoid misdiagnosis of learning difficulties.
- Comfortable Learning: Proper eyesight decreases pain, eye strain, and headaches when learning.
- Holistic Development: Clear vision supports overall cognitive and visual development in children.
- Future Well-being: Caring for eyes early lays the foundation for lifelong visual health and overall wellness.
What Happens During a Kid’s Eye Exam or Vision Test?
An eye doctor will check for several things when you bring your child in for a comprehensive back-to-school eye exam. Some tests will be conducted to diagnose refractive error like astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. An experienced Eye Doctor can also observe how your child reacts to changes in darkness and light using their eyes.
In addition, an optometrist may also examine your child’s eyelids to look for abnormalities such as swelling, discharge, and bulging. Also, your child’s lens, iris, and cornea will also be examined to detect any possible irregularities and cloudiness.
Is the Visual Screening Conducted at Your Child’s School Sufficient?
Vision tests conducted at your child’s school can be important in determining a few things. But relying solely on them as a parent might not be the wisest thing to do. Let’s say your child has passed the vision test conducted at the school, you might be thinking that all is well. However, this is not true. Some vision problems that do not cause symptoms or visual signs may go unnoticed.
In contrast, a comprehensive eye exam will test for a variety of eye disorders in your child’s eyes. Therefore, in addition to vision screenings, make sure your child receives a back-to-school eye exam.
Book a Back-to-School Eye Exam at Eyes on Brickell
Don’t let vision problems prevent your child from learning and achieving the academic success they deserve. We’ll answer any questions you have about back-to-school eye exams and your child’s vision health under the expert guidance of Dr. Antoine Copty with 10+ years of experience. Contact us now to schedule an appointment!