Summer vacation is coming to an end. Back-to-school to-do lists are beginning. An eye exam for every school-aged child should be on the list.
It can be difficult to determine if your child is struggling with their vision. Many of us parents rely on yearly screenings administered by a school or health center to alert us of any problems with our children’s eyes. It is often, and incorrectly, assumed that if a child can pass the screening, they have perfectly healthy eyes and no more thought should be given toward their visual system. However, many school screenings only test for clear distance vision, which is only a small piece of the puzzle. Keep the following 4 categories in mind to help determine if your child’s eye health needs extra attention.
Getting your child’s eyes checked by an eye care professional is a quick way to prevent unnecessary struggles during the school year. A comprehensive eye exam not only checks visual acuity (the ability to see small things up close and at a distance), but also color vision, depth perception, eye muscle coordination, focusing ability, and the health of the structure of the eyes. Many of these things can go undetected because children have no way of knowing what “normal” vision is. One in four children have vision problems that can affect learning and behavior.
It may be necessary for your child to wear corrective lenses while playing sports. Decreased physical performance can be the result of poor depth perception and/or eye coordination. Instead of his everyday glasses, consider a pair of prescription safety glasses. The frames are made to wrap the face for a more snug and secure grip, and the lenses are made out of impact resistant polycarbonate or Trivex. The lenses can even be tinted in colors proven to enhance athletic performance.
Research has shown that blue light from computer screens, smartphones and tablets can have lasting effects on our eyes. The light can potentially damage the nerve cells in the back of our eyes, interfere with sleep patterns and can cause symptoms of ADD in children. A pair of glasses complete with an advanced blue light filter can be worn during screen time to greatly reduce these risks.
Everyone can benefit from the extra UV protection of sunglasses. Children usually spend more time outdoors and tend to have larger pupils. This means that their eyes are more at risk to damage from the sun’s rays in the form of cataracts, macular degeneration and skin cancers. Transitions Kids coated lenses can make sun protection easy by automatically tinting your child’s prescription lenses when he steps into the sun. For the best defense against ultra-violet rays, polarized lenses are the only option. Not only do they block more UV light than any other lenses or coatings, but they also reduce bothersome glares.
Vision problems can become behavioral problems if not detected and treated early. For children with rapidly changing eyes, it may be necessary to update the glasses prescription as often as every six months. Keep an eye on your child’s vision. Don’t forget to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to ensure his visual system is functioning properly and protected.