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Why Back-to-School Eye Exams Are So Important

Dr. Brightman
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by Dr. Brightman

With the days of hanging out at the pool or chasing fireflies in the front yard coming to an end, now is the perfect time to schedule your back-to-school eye exam.

It is easy to become overwhelmed with the flurry of back-to-school activities, but making sure your child’s eyes are healthy is extremely important to his/her success in school and overall health.

According the the Nebraska Optometrics Association, 80% of what a child learns in school is acquired through vision. Children often don’t know they have a vision problem because they get used to not seeing adequately.

Sometimes children can perform well on the basic vision screening conducted at the pediatricians office and still have a vision disorder. The basic screening is designed to check visual acuity (how well your child can see at a distance) but does not check other vision disorders that can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist.

According to the Nebraska Optometrics Association,

“Every child needs to have the following vision skills for effective reading and learning:

  • Visual acuity — the ability to see clearly in the distance for viewing the chalkboard, at an intermediate distance for the computer, and up close for reading a book.
  • Eye Focusing — the ability to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision as the distance from objects change, such as when looking from the chalkboard to a paper on the desk and back. Eye focusing allows the child to easily maintain clear vision over time like when reading a book or writing a report.
  • Eye tracking — the ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another, moving the eyes along a printed page, or following a moving object like a thrown ball.
  • Eye teaming — the ability to coordinate and use both eyes together when moving the eyes along a printed page, and to be able to judge distances and see depth for class work and sports.
  • 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.
  • Visual perception — the ability to organize images on a printed page into letters, words and ideas and to understand and remember what is read.”

By scheduling your child’s eye exam now, your optometrist will be able to determine if any of these skills are lacking and can help your family take steps to ensure the best possible vision, making school and learning a more successful and enjoyable experience.

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