There are certain items that always make it onto your back-to-school list, like backpacks, pencils, and new shoes. But what about an eye exam? If it has been more than a year since your child saw an eye doctor—or if she has never received an eye exam—then the new school season is the perfect time to make an appointment. Eye exams are of critical importance to help detect vision problems that might be hindering your child’s ability to perform in school, sports, or daily tasks.
The story of 13-year-old Sofia from Huntington, New York proves this point. Sofia had experienced learning problems since kindergarten, leading her to need academic accommodations throughout her years in elementary and middle school. It took an intensive eye examination, weekly visits to an eye specialist, and special eyeglasses to diagnose and fix the vision condition causing all of Sofia’s troubles. Now that her vision therapy has been successful, Sofia is back in the mainstream classroom and able to read easily for the first time in her life.
Schools do complete visual screenings for students each year, but they are simple pass/fail tests that do not allow for the thorough examination offered by a pediatric ophthalmologist or optometrist. Many parents fall into a sense of false security if their children pass the school vision screening because they assume it means that no problems exist. In reality, only a specialized eye doctor can make that type of conclusion.
Most children don’t realize that the pain or problems they experience are related to their vision. If they struggle with vision issues from a young age, they might not even know they have a problem at all, but their grades and participation in regular activities will suffer. Only regular exams with an eye specialist can help catch vision issues in their early stages so that they can be resolved instead of causing extra challenges for years to come.