Though it seems as if school just got out, you are probably planning for the start of the new academic year. As you cast a discerning eye around your home to seek out salvageable supplies, don’t forget another important back-to-school must: an eye exam.
Annual eye exams are a vital part of pediatric eye care. Poor vision will have a negative impact on your child’s success in school and overall happiness. Taking the time to schedule an eye exam is essential. If there are any vision issues, they can be addressed with glasses, or if your child is old enough, contacts. Additionally, eye exams are an important part of preventative pediatric eye care. Allowing a doctor to examine your child’s eyes gives them the opportunity to check for any eye problems and address them before they become too serious.
Just because children are less likely to develop cataracts or glaucoma, does not mean sending them to get their eyes checked is any less urgent. Much like cataracts can have an effect on an older individual’s quality of life, poor vision can significantly affect your child’s chances of performing to the best of their ability in school.
A child with bad vision may not even realize they aren’t seeing to the best of their ability because they have nothing to compare their eyesight to. Moreover, children may feel embarrassed or ashamed about admitting they have a problem. In some cases, they may be anxious about the possibility of needing to wear glasses.
An inability to see clearly makes it enormously difficult for any student to follow what is happening in class whether it’s by watching educational videos or seeing what the teacher is writing on the chalkboard. Poor vision can also cause headaches in children. Wearing glasses with a correct prescription easily solves headaches caused by bad eyesight and constant strain. Furthermore, your child may be less inclined to participate in group activities and team sports if they are having trouble seeing.
Depending on your child’s personality, they may not be forthcoming about their difficulty seeing – or may not realize they have a problem to begin with!
Some signs that your child may be struggling to see include:
• They sit unusually close to the screen while watching television
• Your child finds it difficult to read without using a finger to follow the words in a book
• An unexplained drop in their grades
• Squinting when reading something from a reasonable distance or while watching television
While there have been improvements in the form of anti-bullying campaigns and the creation of more fashionable lenses, there is still a fair amount of stigma about wearing glasses for young children. As a result, if you learn that your child needs glasses they may be unwilling to wear them. And since you cannot spend every minute of the day with your child, there is no guarantee they will keep them on while they are at school.
LASIK is certainly not an option for young children, and it is most likely too early for contacts. Instead, you will need to help initiate an attitude adjustment as opposed to a physical change.
Let your child pick out the frames they like if there is room in your budget to buy a more fashionable pair. You can also make a point of how much easier it is to watch their favorite show or do a fun activity, like shoot hoops, when their vision is clearer. Over the long term make a point about disassociating their identity from what they look like and who they are. It can be an adjustment, but by witnessing how much easier it is to do the things they enjoy, your child can start to develop a more positive attitude towards their glasses.
Eye exams are quick and easy. More importantly, they are an essential part of pediatric eye care and preventative eye care in general. Stop by our Birmingham, Trussville, or Alabaster Vision First Eye Center locations and get you and your child’s eyes checked by one of our dedicated professionals who can ensure your entire family starts the school year off right.