It seems like summer vacation has only just begun and it’s time to start thinking about back to school preparations already. While checking off supply lists for the perfect backpack, binders, and pens is usually the first thing parents think about when getting their kids ready for school, something equally (if not more) important is booking an appointment for your child to see an optometrist.
Why Is An Eye Exam So Important?
Whether your child will be learning in person or at home, vision plays a huge role in their overall academic success. Did you know that 80% of a child’s learning experience is visual? When you consider the visual nature of reading, writing, computer use, teacher examples, demonstrations, and materials, it’s no wonder having optimal eyesight for our kids is so important!
Unfortunately, vision problems are often misdiagnosed as learning and behavioural difficulties, such as dyslexia and ADHD. Additionally, approximately 60% of children with reading difficulties actually have an undiagnosed vision problem. By ruling out vision as a barrier to our kids’ success, teachers and parents are able to provide programming catered to their learning needs, resulting in a positive and successful school experience.
How Will I Know If My Child Has A Vision Problem?
You may be surprised to learn that 1 in 4 school aged children has a vision problem. It’s also important to recognize that digital eye strain has become more common in kids due to increased screen time. These problems with eyesight are often undiagnosed because children may not even realize that their vision isn’t “normal” since they have nothing to compare it to. Fortunately, optometrists can detect these hidden eye problems and help to rectify any vision concerns before they become a bigger issue.
The following are signs and symptoms that could indicate a vision problem in your child:
- Consistently holding books or tablets too close, or sitting too close to the TV
- Losing their place while reading or using a finger to guide their eyes when reading
- Squinting or tilting their head to see better
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Sensitivity to light and/or excessive tearing
- Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
- Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as reading or distance vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities
- Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
- Avoiding using a computer, because it hurts their eyes
Booking an eye exam for your kiddo prior to starting school is one way to give them a leg up before they’ve even walked through the classroom door. However, it’s never too late to make a call to your local optometrist to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Children under the age of 19 even have Alberta Health coverage available towards the cost of the eye exam. If your family doesn’t have an optometrist yet, it’s easy to find one using this resource provided by the Alberta Association of Optometrists. With COVID safety protocols in place in all offices, you can rest assured that planning your visit will be both simple and safe.
To learn more or find an optometrist, visit optometrists.ab.ca.
Thanks to the Alberta Association of Optometrists for partnering with us on this informative post.