From gathering school supplies to shopping for new clothes, parents are scrambling to make sure that everything is taken care of on their child’s back-to-school checklist. One thing that should included on that list is a comprehensive eye exam for school-aged children and teens.
Adolescence is where most eye problems develop. If not diagnosed and treated properly, eye conditions can have a profound negative effect upon the grades, behavior and quality of life of a child. As children grow into teenagers, their eyes grow as well. It’s commonplace for children as young as six years of age to develop a condition called “myopia” (nearsightedness). They could also develop hyperopia (farsightedness) along with several other debilitating eye conditions.
Here are three reasons why regular eye exams are important for children and teens, especially before the start of school.
Increased Screen Usage Among Kids & Teens
Comprehensive eye exam is more critical in this day and age than it ever was. This is due to the increased usage of digital screens. Children as young as six are being taught how to use a computer or tablet to complete school class work. When they come home, children then turn their attention to socializing online, video games and smartphones or tablets for entertainment.
In 2015, the American Optical Association (AOA) ran a survey and found that 41 percent of parents stated that their kids spend more than hours each day on an electronic device such as a phone, tablet or computer.
These computerized screens can have a direct impact on the tear production and blink rate for children. In some cases, it can cause the beginning symptoms of an eye condition called dry eye disease. This occurs in children and teens who would otherwise have normal, healthy vision.
Poor Vision Can Affect Learning Abilities
If children suffer from eye condition, such as near or far sightedness, it can negatively affect both their grades and behavior. With farsightedness, they may have issues seeing textbooks, reading materials or objects right in front of them. If they have nearsightedness, your child may have difficulties seeing the whiteboard or the teacher.
These eye conditions can cause grades to plummet, hinder your child’s ability to learn, as well as start to chip away at the self-confidence.
Healthy Eyes for Sports & Activities
If your child is going to play sports this fall, it’s imperative they get their vision checked out. Poor vision can result in life-threatening injuries or poor sports performance. If your child has vision problems, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of their sports career. There are plenty of fashionable glasses on the market which will enable them to safely engage in sports with their peers.
Eye protection is also important even if your child doesn’t have any eye issues. Proper protective eyewear can prevent an errant foul baseball from striking them in the eye during P.E. class.
Does My Child Need an Eye Exam?
For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years, if no vision correction is required. Children or teens who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined every year, or according to their Seattle eye doctor’s recommendations. A good rule of thumb is to take your children in for a comprehensive eye exam right before school starts. This will allow the eye doctor to catch any vision-related problems before they develop further.
If your child is exhibiting one or more of the following signs, you should take them in for an eye exam immediately:
- Frequent headaches
- Often covering of one eye
- Short attention span
- Frequent eye blinking or rubbing
- Tilting head to one side
- Holding reading materials close to the face
Back-to-School Eye Exams in Burien & Seattle, Washington
At Clearview Eye & Laser, we specialize in comprehensive eye exams for children and teenagers. We can help diagnose and treat eye conditions before they can negatively affect the quality of life of your child. We have two offices conveniently located in the Burien and Seattle area. Give us a call now to schedule an appointment for your child, just in time for back-to-school season.