In Optometry Blog

Whether your child is returning to in-person classes or continuing their education through virtual schooling, ensuring they have healthy vision is crucial for their academic success. As the school year approaches, adding a back to school eye exam to your checklist should be a top priority. Not only does this help detect early signs of vision problems, but it also ensures your child has the right prescription eyewear if needed.

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure,” and when it comes to your child’s vision, this couldn’t be truer! According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), vision problems affect one in four school-aged children, and 80% of learning during a child’s first 12 years is visual. With such staggering statistics, identifying and addressing vision issues early on can significantly impact your child’s academic performance and overall well-being.

However, children are not always aware of their vision needs, and it’s up to parents and teachers to look out for signs that may indicate an issue. Some common symptoms to watch for include excessive rubbing or blinking, headaches, difficulty reading, trouble concentrating, and comprehension issues. These signs may manifest in various ways, such as poor academic performance, difficulty participating in sports, or even behavioral problems.

That’s where back to school eye exams come in! Establishing the habit of regular eye exams for your child at the beginning of each school year (or more frequently, if recommended by the optometrist) can detect any vision issues early, allowing for prompt intervention and treatment. This includes detecting common eye problems in children, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and visual coordination issues, that can hamper their academic performance.

Read on to find more information on choosing the right eye care professional, what to expect during an eye exam, and tips for easing any nerves your child may feel about visiting the optometrist. Together, we’ll help you kick off the school year with sharp vision and academic success for your child!

Choosing the Right Eye Care Professional: Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist

The first step in scheduling a back to school eye exam is finding the right eye care professional for your child. While both optometrists and ophthalmologists are qualified to perform comprehensive eye exams, their expertise and the services they offer vary. Understanding these differences can help you determine which professional is best suited for your child’s needs.

Optometrists are licensed eye doctors who perform eye exams, prescribe glasses and contact lenses, diagnose, and treat specific eye conditions like dry eye and pink eye. For most children, an optometrist can provide comprehensive eye care and manage routine exams.

Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, are medical doctors specializing in eye care. In addition to performing eye exams and prescribing corrective lenses, ophthalmologists are trained to diagnose and treat more complex eye conditions and perform eye surgeries. If your child has a history of chronic or severe eye issues or requires specialized care, an ophthalmologist may be the better choice.

What to Expect During the Eye Exam: Evaluation and Testing

To put your child at ease, it’s essential to know what happens during an eye exam. A typical eye exam comprises several steps, each designed to thoroughly assess your child’s vision and eye health. Understanding the process can help you explain it to your child in simple terms, alleviating any potential anxiety.

1. Patient and Family History: The eye exam will begin with the eye care professional gathering information on your child’s medical and ocular history. This may include questions about your child’s birth, developmental milestones, and any vision problems, injuries, or eye surgeries.

2. Visual Acuity Test: Using an eye chart, the optometrist will measure your child’s distance vision. This test helps identify any issues with distance vision, such as myopia (nearsightedness).

3. Eye Muscle Test: This test evaluates your child’s eye movement and coordination. Your child will be asked to follow a moving object while the optometrist observes their eye movements.

4. Refraction Assessment: If your child has any vision difficulties, the optometrist will perform a refraction assessment to determine the level of prescription needed for corrective eyewear.

5. Eye Health Evaluation: To complete the exam, the eye care professional will use specialized instruments to evaluate the overall health of your child’s eyes, including the retina, optic nerve, and cornea.

Fostering a Positive Attitude: Tips for Preparing Your Child

A successful and productive eye exam relies on your child feeling comfortable and at ease. Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for their visit and create a positive experience:

1. Discuss the Importance: Explain the purpose of the eye exam and how it can improve their daily life at school and play. Use age-appropriate language and illustrations to help your child understand.

2. Share Your Experiences: Children often model their parents’ attitudes. Share your positive experiences with eye care and corrective eyewear to help your child feel more comfortable.

3. Schedule a Practice Run: If possible, schedule a “dry run” or a meet-and-greet with the eye care professional. This familiarizes your child with the optometry office environment and sets the stage for a relaxed exam day.

4. Encourage Questions: Encourage your child to ask questions during their appointment. This empowers them to take ownership of their eye care and feel more involved in the process.

Continuing Eye Care: Encourage Regular Exams and Vision Protection

After a successful eye exam, it’s essential to keep your child’s eye health a priority throughout the year. Encourage regular eye exams, as recommended by the eye care professional or at the start of every school year. Educate your child on the importance of protecting their eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, digital eye strain, and sports-related eye injuries by wearing sunglasses, taking breaks from electronic devices, and using protective gear during sports activities.

With Vision Success Comes Academic Success

A back-to-school eye exam is an essential step in providing your child with the tools they need to excel academically. By choosing the right eye doctor in Bend, Oregon, like the ones from Lifetime Vision Care, understanding the eye exam process, and fostering a positive attitude, you can ensure your child’s vision remains a priority throughout the year. And with clear vision and healthy eyes, the sky’s the limit for your child’s academic achievements! Get in touch with us today!