Did you know that you should be visiting your eye doctor at least every 2 years for comprehensive exams? These eye visits are incredibly important for detecting eye diseases before they get severe enough to cause permanent blindness. Your children also need these important visits at least every 2 years, if not more often. Their eyes are developing all the way up through age 10 and many developmental issues can stem from poor eyesight. Here are a few reasons why you should consider scheduling your child’s eye exam before classes start up again!
Have you or your child ever received an eye screening at school or work? Often, children receive these screenings in elementary school to make sure they can see well enough to learn properly. Many times, a school or office nurse is providing this screening. However, for larger-scale vision screenings, outside volunteers from the community may help with the vision screenings as well.
These are quick, cost-effective exams that can detect some vision impairments. However, that is the extent of a vision screening. They can determine that there may be something wrong with the eyes, but they cannot determine for sure if a person has a refractive eye error, an infection, a disease or a chronic condition. A screening can miss vision problems in up to 75% of cases, or they can inhibit early diagnosis of a vision problem. Although back-to-screenings can be helpful, consider getting an eye exam from a professional eye doctor.
The American Optometric Association recommends that patients see their eye doctor at least every 2 years for an eye exam. Between birth and 24 months, an infant should see the eye doctor around 6 months. They should also receive an eye exam around age 3 and before first grade. After this time, we would love to see each patient every 2 years so that their eyes stay healthy. Those who have vision problems or are at-risk for vision problems should receive an exam every year, especially in school-aged children.
Vision develops over the first 10 years of life, and proper development is crucial for doing well in school. If a child can’t see well, their schoolwork will suffer and that can continue throughout their life. That is why you always want to schedule eye exams before the school year starts.
During your child’s comprehensive eye exam, the doctor may decide to do a dilated eye exam. In this test, the doctor will instill dilating drops in each eye, which would enlarge the pupils to give the eye doctor a better view of certain parts of the back of the eye. Dilation is done at the discretion of the doctor, with some patients dilated every year and others at specified intervals; the frequency of dilation will vary for each patient.
Typically the drops take around 20 to 30 minutes to take effect and may last up to several hours following the exam; each patient is different. Since more light enters the eyes when the pupils are dilated, they will be more sensitive to bright light, especially sunlight. Although the doctor may provide disposable sunglasses, you may want to bring a pair of sunglasses for your child to wear after the exam to make it more comfortable until the drops wear off.
Your child’s eyes will be tested using an eye chart to see how distance vision functions. The eyes will also be tested to see how they function individually and together from a mechanical perspective. In order to see clearly and comfortably, your child’s eyes need to work together as a team. If your child (or yourself) wears glasses or has vision issues, you will likely use the retinoscopy test. This is a machine that has many different scopes to see from with potentially hundreds of combinations of eyeglass prescriptions to choose from. The lenses for those scopes will be changed out to find a prescription that fits your eyes perfectly.
The final and most important aspect of a comprehensive eye exam is a check of your child’s overall eye health. These tests are done to identify any eye conditions or diseases, both inside the eye as well as the external parts of the eye, that could affect vision and general health. There are over 100 different types of tests that can be done for each individual child or adult depending on any current health conditions or issues. If your child is healthy, a simple eye exam is all they need to ensure no eye problem is developing.
Because of the level of technology and 10+ years of training an eye doctor has in eye health, eye exams are much more beneficial to a child than a back-to-school eye screening. Anybody can do an eye screening with little to no training, which means an eye issue can easily be missed. This is something you don’t want for your child, as it could affect their learning and development. Don’t take a chance on their education! Schedule your child’s eye exam before the new school year starts! Call Peeper’s Optical today at (303) 333-2800!