Back to school is a hectic time for many families. New clothes, day care, extracurriculars and transport are all major considerations for many parents who are trying to get back into a routine and want to make sure that their child has everything that they need for the new academic year. One thing that every child should get before they return to school is an eye exam.
It’s estimated that 1 in 4 children have an undetected eye problem that may negatively affect their progress at school. There can be a number of reasons for this.
One of the biggest challenges faced by parents and pediatric eye doctors is that many kids simply don’t realize that their vision or their visual skills aren’t as good as they could be. For many kids with fairly mild vision problems, what they can see is ‘normal’ to them and they might not think that there’s anything wrong. The trouble is that even slight eye issues can cause eye strain and difficulties that affect their performance. Young children may not have the vocabulary to be able to explain the issues that they are having.
Children are very adept at masking signs of illness, and similarly, they can be good at covering up other problems that they might be experiencing. Some kids with vision problems cause distractions that prevent their problems from being detected – such as misbehaving so that they don’t have to read out loud in class. Others may copy work off of their peers or find other ways to stop others around them finding out that they have problems with their vision, particularly if they are trying to avoid the possibility of glasses or contact lenses.
Often, people get so caught up in seeing things clearly that they overlook the importance of other visual skills. Tracking, eye teaming, focusing, hand-eye coordination and visual perception are essential developmental skills that all children need in addition to seeing clearly. If these skills don’t develop in childhood, it can make some visual tasks such as reading, catching a ball and even walking down steps extremely difficult. Children without such skills will have to work harder and likely will not enjoy their learning experience as much. This can lead to them putting in less effort and falling behind.
Back to school eye exams can help to set your child up for academic and social success in the new school year. Not only can clear vision and strong visual skills help your child to access their learning and reach their learning potential, they can also help them to perform well in sports and other extra-curricular activities and give them that all-important self-confidence amongst their peers. Regular eye exams are also important for your child’s visual health, allowing your family eye doctor to carefully monitor the condition of their eyes so that any developing issues can be detected and treated early on and before they have an impact on your child’s vision and quality of life.
Book your child’s back to school eye exam today – call one of our eye care offices at 804-353-3937 (Richmond) or 804-888-8998 (Midlothian).