Add an eye exam to your Back-to-School Checklist!

School supplies: CHECK. School clothes: CHECK. New lunchbox: CHECK. Eye exam: TO-DO.

It’s that time of year. Parents are busy making sure their child has all the necessary tools to have a successful school year. As much as 80% of classroom learning is visual, so ensuring children can see properly will help them reach their full potential. Whether your child is starting Kindergarten or attending high school, it’s wise to add an eye exam to your Back-to-School Checklist!

One in five children has a vision disorder. When visual skills are lacking or impaired, a child will need to work harder and may develop headaches or fatigue. Children who cannot see the blackboard or follow words in a book will struggle to achieve their full learning potential and can develop poor learning habits and sometimes a real aversion to school. You can’t assume your child has healthy eyes because they have passed a screening test or are not complaining. Not knowing any differently, many children accept poor vision and other eye ailments as normal. In certain cases, children may have one eye that is doing most of the work, hiding the fact that the other eye is not functioning properly.

Doctors of Optometry recommend that infants have their eyes examined between six and nine months of age; children have their eyes examined between the ages of two and five, and yearly after starting school because vision changes can occur rapidly as they grow.

Doctors of Optometry are completely equipped to test your child’s eyes even if he/she does not know how to read. Vision screenings offered by family doctors and the school district are a great tool in detecting certain eye conditions, but a full examination of visual function and ocular health by an optometrist provides a much better indication of overall eye health. Many serious eye conditions don’t have any obvious symptoms. A thorough eye exam by an optometrist is the only way to know for sure.