The first day of school has come and gone. As a parent, you did everything you could to get your kids ready to go back to school; took them clothes shopping, bought them supplies and took them to the doctor to get those required physicals and immunizations. But has your child received a comprehensive eye exam? Are you wondering if your child may have a vision problem?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have a comprehensive eye exam when they're six months old. Children should have their next eye exam at age three, and just before they begin first grade, typically at age six. Eye exams for children are extremely important. Illinois law requires comprehensive eye exams for all children entering kindergarten or those enrolling in public, private or parochial school for the first time. It also says that an eye exam must take place within one year prior to kindergartners beginning school in the fall and for all students attending school for the first time in Illinois.
Early identification of a child's vision problem is important.
Children are generally more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early. Early eye exams also are important because children with healthy, normal vision perform better at school or at play. The following basic skills related to good eyesight for learning include:
- Near vision
- Hand-eye coordination
- Distance vision
- Binocular (two eyes) coordination
- Eye movement skills
- Peripheral awareness
- Focusing skills
Make sure to schedule your child's eye exam during a time when they are usually alert and happy - like right after they wake up in the morning or following their early afternoon nap.
Eye exams include a case history, vision testing, testing of eye alignment, an eye health evaluation and, if needed, prescription eyewear. Make sure to let your eye doctor if your child has or exhibits any of the following:
- A history of prematurity
- Delayed motor development
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Excessive blinking
- Failure to maintain eye contact or the inability to fixate on objects
- Poor eye tracking skills
Also, be sure to mention if your child has failed a vision screening at school or during a visit to his or her pediatrician. For more information on comprehensive eye exams for children, make sure to visit our website for more information at ww.illinoiseyecenter.com.