Every year, the summer seems to fly by. Before you know it, it’s that time again! Time to make that back-to-school list. Whatever your back-to-school routine may be, make sure to fit in an eye exam for your kids. Because their vision may change frequently during their school years, regular eye and vision care is important to their overall performance.
Here are 3 reasons why kids need a quick examination before school starts.
Reason No. 1: Optimal vision is essential for learning.
Today, kids are constantly looking at screens: computers, smartphones, video games, and other portable electronic devices. Experts say that 80% of what a child learns prior to age 13 is presented visually, making detecting and correcting vision problems more important than ever.
Poor academic performance can occur if a child is unable to see the blackboard or the print in books or on a computer screen. Regular eye exams are vital to insure your child has the visual skills they need to perform well in school.
Reason No. 2: Early Detection
Some conditions can be corrected if caught early, which is very important in a child's sight development. One condition that is reversible when detected early is Amblyopia, or lazy eye. Lazy eye is the loss of one eye's ability to see details. Treatment involves patching the better-seeing eye or blurring its vision using atropine drops. Amblyopia is the most common cause of vision problems in children.
Other common vision conditions which can cause avoidance of reading are refractive errors such as Farsightedness and Astigmatism. Symptoms of these conditions include eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision. These vision problems pose a greater risk for learning problems than Amblyopia and Strabismus.
The American Optometric Association, AOA estimates that 1 in 4 kids have an undetected vision problem. Visual perceptual skills are critically impacted by visual problems.
The building blocks of perceptual skills are:
- RECOGNITION — knowing the difference between letters like 'b' and 'd'.
- COMPREHENSION — the ability to picture in their minds what’s happening in a story they are reading.
- RETENTION – remembering and recalling details about what they’ve just read.
Reason No. 3: School Sports
Poor vision can lead to low confidence in sports as well as in the classroom. A child who consistently underperforms a certain skill in a sport, such as always hitting the front of the rim in basketball or swinging late at a pitched ball in baseball, may have a vision problem. If visual skills are not adequate, the child may continue to perform poorly.
Correction of vision problems with eyeglasses or contact lenses, or a program of eye exercises called vision therapy can correct many vision problems and improve sports vision performance. At VisionQuest, we specialize in vision therapy.
Eye protection should also be a major concern to parents of student athletes, especially those that play high-risk sports. Thousands of children suffer sports-related eye injuries each year, making it essential that children wear protective eyewear when playing sports.
Regular prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are not a substitute for appropriate protective eyewear. An optometrist can recommend well-fitted sports eyewear to provide the appropriate level of protection needed.
Specific visual skills needed for sports include:
- Clear distance vision
- Good depth perception
- Wide field of vision
- Eye Teaming Coordination—coordinating both eyes together when judging distances for sports and play.
- Eye Tracking—the ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another or following a moving object like a thrown ball.
- Eye-Hand Coordination—the ability to use visual information to monitor and direct the hands when drawing a picture or trying to hit a ball.
VisionQuest Eyecare specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vision disorders that interfere with reading, learning, and other extracurricular activities. Children love our staff! At VisionQuest, we create a comforting, caring atmosphere, from your child’s first eye exam on!
Make eye exams part of your back-to-school routine and send your kids back to school with better vision. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!