If your child is having trouble seeing the chalkboard — er, whiteboard — this school year, it might be time for an eye exam. Here at the WorkingDad corner of the world, we had just that experience about a year ago. Turns out our daughter did need glasses in order to see the board better.
Instead of waiting for your child to say something, you may want to add an eye exam to your back-to-school list. Nearly 25 percent of all school-aged children have vision problems. This means that almost 12.5 million school-age kids can’t see the whiteboard. According to the CDC, vision problems are the single most prevalent disabling condition among American children.
According to Dr. Derick Holt of EYE-Q Vision Care, “Children are depending a lot on their vision for all aspects of their development. If a child can’t see well, they’re going to have trouble navigating their world. A child’s visual system is actively developing. Children have to learn how to see just as they have to learn how to walk and talk. Vision problems in early childhood can contribute to developmental delays. Some problems, if left untreated even for a short period, can result in permanent vision loss.”
Early detection and treatment is critical. “If we can detect problems early on, we can put treatments in place to help give them the best vision possible,” Holt said. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommendations in place for vision screenings. Your child’s pediatrician should perform an eye exam at every well-child checkup. In addition, a specific assessment of vision (eye chart test) should be done on all children over the age of three.
Holt recommends having your child’s eyes checked annually along with school checkups. In addition, Dr. Holt offers three tips to maintain your child’s healthy vision:
1. Eye injuries are one of the leading causes of vision loss in children. Be aware of what your kids are playing with. Toys that have sharp ends, spikes or protruding parts could potentially harm the eye. Make sure your kids are playing with age-appropriate toys. BB guns are not a good idea – particularly unsupervised. Put railings on stairs and watch for sharp corners, especially tables that are lower.
2. Kids playing ball sports, such as soccer or baseball, should wear protective sport goggles with impact-resistant Polycarbonate lenses. There are an estimated 42,000 sports-related eye injuries each year and the majority of those injuries are to children.
3. Children should wear sunglasses with UV lenses when outdoors. People are generally pretty good about putting sunscreen on their kids but not necessarily about putting them in sunglasses. Acute and chronic exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause damage to eyes of all ages.
Vision is critical to your child’s development. Good eye care is essential for maintaining healthy vision. When it comes to your child’s eyesight, Holt warns parents to err on the side of caution. “Parents should know that if they have concerns, it’s better for the child to be seen than to put it off.”
To schedule a pediatric ophthalmology appointment with Dr. Holt call 559-486-2000
About EYE-Q Vision Care
EYE-Q Vision Care provides 16 doctors to the Central Valley with specialties in LASIK, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal disease, cornea, pediatrics, and ophthalmic plastic surgery. EYE-Q uses the latest proven technology available to provide its patients the opportunity for the best possible outcome. EYE-Q has been in practice for over 50 years and has offices in Fresno, Clovis and Selma. Its mission is to help patients see, look and feel their best. For additional information, visit eyeqvc.com or call (559) 486-2000.