Eye Tests – Will Your Child Make the Grade?
Did you know that kids of all ages need to have regular eye exams? It doesn’t matter whether or not they complain about their eyes or vision.
Doing your child’s homework or taking their tests in school won’t help their education, but bringing your kid for a comprehensive eye exam is a great way to promote effective learning! Eyesight and education are linked strongly, and without sharp vision, your child is at risk for many vision-related learning problems. An undetected vision condition therefore compromises success in the classroom. At Temecula Valley Optometry, we invite you to bring your kids for an expert eye exam with Dr. Alan Winkelstein, our friendly, professional eye doctor – who is amazing with children!
In addition to checking visual acuity, Dr. Winkelstein will inspect your child’s entire system for healthy, functional vision. This includes a thorough examination of visual skills, such as eye mobility, binocularity (eye-teaming), eye-hand coordination, peripheral awareness and accommodation (focusing). We encourage all parents to start their kids’ education off right with an eye exam in our Temecula office.
When should you schedule pediatric eye exams, and what do we check?
Your child is ready for their first eye exam at a half-year old, according to official American Optometric Association (AOA) guidelines. During this evaluation, we’ll assess your baby’s ability to fixate on an object and track its movement, as well as pay attention to their pupil’s response to light. These are all important indicators that their visual system is developing normally.
Three years old is the recommended age for the next eye examination. In our Temecula practice, we’ll perform a thorough check of your child’s eyesight, using a variety of procedures. Dr. Winkelstein will inspect how light reflects off the retina with the aid of retinoscope. We’ll also show dot patterns and specialized pictures to your kid to watch how the eyes focus and work together as a team.
Before entering school, around age 5 -6, a complete eye exam is critical and can have a tremendous impact on learning. In fact, these vision evaluations are so important that many states have made them a requirement for beginning first grade! In addition to checking visual acuity to determine if there’s a need for eyeglasses, we’ll also look at eye health and observe your kid’s eye alignment. This is how problems such as “lazy eye” are diagnosed.
During school years, follow-up eye exams can be scheduled about every two years. However, if your child requires vision correction (eyeglasses or contact lenses) or vision therapy, then annual examinations are advised, or upon the recommendation of your eye doctor.
What vision conditions can impact learning?
It is probably obvious to parents that if your child fails a vision screening and cannot see clearly, learning will be negatively influenced. Fortunately, eyeglasses and contact lenses generally resolve common nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. However, in addition to these typical diagnoses, there are many more vision conditions that could interfere with success in the classroom. These include:
- Accommodation problems: weak focusing ability that can manifest as having trouble with reading. Switching between near and far focus, as needed when looking back and forth between a board and a notebook, may also be hard.
- Convergence insufficiency: close-up tasks, such as reading, are a challenge because your child cannot hold eye alignment. Vision therapy and eye exercises are the usual treatment.
- Eye teaming problems: eye-hand coordination and depth perception are influenced, which may complicate writing and reading abilities.
- Amblyopia: commonly known as “lazy eye.” With one weaker eye, binocularity is affected and the brain doesn’t receive accurate information from both eyes. Patching the dominant eye is the typical treatment, which helps to strengthen the weaker eye.
- Strabismus: misaligned eyes or a muscle weakness is usually to blame, and eye teaming is seriously compromised. Kids may suffer from headaches and fatigue.
Eye exams are one of the most important tests your child should take!
We’ll check your kid’s eyes and vision at Temecula Valley Optometry – start your child’s education right, and contact us today for an appointment.