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Kids And Comprehensive Eye Exams

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Most of us remember going to the school nurse as a child, covering one eye at a time, and reading off lines from the big E chart to find out if we needed glasses.

Unfortunately, as efficient as they may seem, these simple vision screenings don’t catch everything that could be wrong with a child’s eyesight, and when vision problems go undiagnosed, they can seriously hinder a child’s learning and social development.

Vision Screenings Versus Comprehensive Eye Exams

The big E chart does the important job of testing visual acuity, but vision problems aren’t limited to nearsightedness or farsightedness. At a comprehensive eye exam, we will also test your child for astigmatism, color blindness, poor visual perception, poor hand-eye coordination, and how effectively their eyes work together for focusing, tracking, and teaming. Problems in any of these areas can impact a child’s education, but only if they aren’t treated.

The Effects Of Undiagnosed Vision Problems

Imagine trying to focus on the words on a page when your eyesight makes it physically uncomfortable to do so. If you’re a small child with no idea how your eyes are supposed to work, all you know is that you can’t do what the grown-ups are asking you to do, even while your peers are doing just fine. You become fidgety and can’t concentrate, and you might start to think that learning is no fun or that you’re simply not smart enough to do it.

Up to 80 percent of learning is visual, because children in school spend so much time reading the white board, studying textbooks, and writing. This means that an undiagnosed vision problem puts a major road block in the way of a child’s learning. In fact, many children with these problems end up misdiagnosed with a learning disability!

What Are The Symptoms Of An Eye Problem?

Symptoms to watch for in your child include a lazy eye, eyes crossed or turned outward, difficulty completing schoolwork, difficulty with reading comprehension, shortened attention span (particularly for close work), frequent headaches, fidgeting, a habit of covering one eye, and frequent blinking and eye rubbing. If you notice these symptoms and your child hasn’t had a comprehensive eye exam, schedule an appointment with us.

Help Your Child Reach Their Potential With Healthy Eyesight

With the new school year starting, now is the perfect time to bring your child in for a comprehensive eye exam. Every child with a problem that impedes their ability to learn should get the help they need. A comprehensive eye exam is a great way to rule out vision problems or to catch them early and begin treatment so that the child can get back to discovering the vast world of knowledge waiting for them.

Written by Lynn Matsuda

Dr. Matsuda received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles, followed by her matriculation at the Southern California College of Optometry, where she graduated with distinction in 1990.
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