Summer vacation is starting for kids around the country, but time off from school shouldn’t mean losing focus on an important aspect of a child’s classroom experience—their vision. It is estimated that up to 80% of what a child learns in school is through visual information. This is why annual eye exams are important for children, especially those just starting school. It is essential to make sure that each child’s eyes cannot only see clearly but also track efficiently, focus accurately, team together smoothly and process visual information appropriately.
The most common vision issues children face are that they are either slightly farsighted or nearsighted. Unfortunately, some children have further problems with their vision such as poor eye tracking or eye teaming skills. Children with poor tracking skills often demonstrate slow reading speeds, skipping lines or words of text, using their finger as a reading guide and poor reading comprehension. On the other hand, children with poor eye teaming skills may complain of words moving on the page, tired eyes after school, headaches or even double vision.
It is important for optometrists to remember that children’s vision care starts with the parents. Educating parents about the importance of annual eye exams, as well as the signs and symptoms of visual issues, is the key to ensuring proper child eyecare; young children often don’t understand blurred vision or realize that their eyes are working harder or differently than other children.
Think About Your Eyes recognizes the need to educate parents on the importance of a child’s vision health and has developed messaging and commercials around this very topic. Optometrists can do their part by talking with adult patients about their children and the importance of routine eyecare. This simple conversation can be life changing for the child in need.