by B. E. Lewis, RDPFS Intern:
When children receive vision screenings at school, some parents may think a comprehensive eye exam is unnecessary. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), however, school screenings can miss many youngsters with vision problems. Vision issues can impact a child’s development, school performance, and self-esteem negatively. Back-to-school time is a good opportunity for families to schedule an eye exam. Common eyesight abnormalities can be diagnosed and treated early, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Eye specialists recommend that children’s eyes be checked in infancy, once between ages three and five, and then annually beginning in first grade. If found early, many vision problems can be slowed or corrected. A Comprehensive Eye Exam (CEE) screens for and diagnoses common eye conditions. Elements of a CEE include: a measure of visual acuity (VA), which determines the eye’s ability to distinguish shapes at a given distance of 20 feet; a visual field test to check peripheral (side) and central vision; and refraction, a test that determines the lens power necessary to correct various degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Learn more about comprehensive eye exams, including special refraction tests for infants and young children, testing for color blindness, and more, in an article from the National Library of Medicine titled “Comprehensive eye examination: what does it mean?” Also check out a CBS News Health Watch piece addressing the question “Is an eye exam on your child’s back-to-school checklist? Here’s why doctors recommend it.” Additional information is also available from the American Optometric Association on Championing children’s eye care.