It's kids' eye exam season: Tips for children's vision health
By now, kids have settled into their school day routine, teachers know each student’s abilities and potential, and you’re feeling like you have a moment to catch a breath before the holidays arrive. Then, an envelope comes home from school with a troubling surprise: your child is having difficulty seeing the white board in class. The school recommends a full eye exam.
“It’s not uncommon for parents to be unaware their child is having vision issues, and children themselves may not realize it either,” says Dr. Mark Jacquot, clinical director for LensCrafters Vision Care. “Kids use their eyes constantly in the classroom and on the playground. Problems often come to light during the first months of the school year, when children either have a vision screening in school or their teacher notices them struggling academically.”
Between 15 to 20 percent of pre-school-age kids have a vision problem such as nearsightedness, lazy eye (2 to 5 percent), and 3 to 4 percent have a condition that causes the eyes to turn in or out, according to the Vision Council. However, two out of three kids start school without having had a comprehensive eye exam.
Undiagnosed vision problems can also lead to behavioral problems in school and difficulty with class work. Some kids may even have their vision issues misdiagnosed as attention deficit disorders, according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Some signs of vision issues — like a short attention span for close work or difficulty reading — mirror ADD symptoms.
The vision care professionals at LensCrafters recommend parents be alert for common signs of vision problems in children, including:
* Pupils of different sizes
* Red eyes
* Swollen eyelids
* Excessive blinking, stumbling or daydreaming
* Rubbing eyes
* Headaches, dizziness, nausea or double vision
* Holding reading materials very close to the face
To help parents understand, first hand, the vision problems children may be experiencing, a new video is available at www.lenscrafters.com/see-how-your-child-sees.
“In-school vision screenings generally only test for how well a child sees at various distances, so it’s important for children to have the health of their eyes checked by a doctor through a comprehensive exam each year, even if you haven’t noticed signs of a problem,” Jacquot says. “Eye health can be a valuable indicator of overall health, and a comprehensive eye exam can detect or rule out serious health conditions.”
While health insurance typically doesn’t cover adult vision care, the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover pediatric eye care. If your child hasn’t already had a comprehensive eye exam this school year, now’s the time to get one.
New technology makes eye exams easier, more accurate and more kid-friendly than ever. LensCrafters’ new digital exam, Clarifye, measures five times more optical characteristics of the visual system, on both the inside and outside of the eye, to provide the most detailed picture of eye health. The exam pinpoints the smallest changes that occur in eyes over time, allowing eye care professionals to detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, diabetes and high blood pressure.