Boy in glasses in classroom

Valley Eyecare Center reminds parents that good vision is critical for many classroom tasks – from reading books or seeing a whiteboard to viewing a computer screen. Without healthy vision, students can face unnecessary challenges not only in the classroom, but also to their mental, physical, social and emotional well being.

A comprehensive eye examination for students is one of the most important “to-dos” as children head back to school, and yet it is often overlooked. Without an eye exam, many children will suffer from undetected vision problems, and some may even be misdiagnosed as having a learning disorder.

“Millions of school children in America have vision conditions that can negatively affect learning,” said Dr. Lindsey Clyde. “Many parents rely on vision screenings in school to check for eye problems, but that isn’t enough. Comprehensive eye exams are necessary to detect problems that a simple screening can miss, such as eye coordination, moderate amounts of farsightedness and astigmatism.”

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), vision screenings are not diagnostic, and therefore, typically identify only a small portion of the vision problems in children. During a comprehensive eye exam, a doctor of optometry will also check not just the child’s visual acuity, but how well the eyes work together as a team, focusing ability, visual alignment, eye tracking skills, and color vision, as well as the overall health of the eyes.

The AOA recommends the following schedule for eye examinations for children:

  • Infants should receive a comprehensive baseline eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months, immediately after the critical period when the eye undergoes rapid and profound changes and is therefore most vulnerable to interference with normal development;
  • Preschoolers should receive at least one in-person, comprehensive eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5 to prevent or diagnose any condition that may have long-term effects;
  • School-aged children (6 to 18 years) should receive a comprehensive exam prior to entering the first grade and annually thereafter.

Early detection and treatment provide the very best opportunity to treat and correct vision problems to help children see clearly. “Good vision doesn’t just happen,” Dr. Lindsey Clyde “A child’s brain learns how to use eyes to see. The longer a vision problem goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more a child’s brain has to overcompensate to live with the vision problem, instead of developing and learning normally.”

For additional information regarding children’s vision or to book an eye exam for your child, call us 602-955-2700 or schedule an appointment online.