As your child returns to school, it’s crucial that you think about their vision. Almost all of a child’s learning is in some way vision-based, making it a priority to visit your optometrist for a proper children’s eye exam. But how do you get a child ready for an eye exam—especially if it’s been some time since they last visited the optometrist?
It helps to explain to them what to expect. Your child will have a fun chat with their optometrist about their vision, and they’ll be asked about any problems they might be dealing with, like blurry vision or difficulty reading the board at the front of the class. Then, the optometrist is going to use several different machines so they can learn more about your child’s vision.
Once done, they’ll have a better understanding of how your child’s vision is, and can help give you both some advice on keeping their eyesight strong!
The Importance of Pediatric Eye Exams
Did you know that roughly 80% of your kid’s learning is vision-based? And if there’s a problem with their vision, it can have a direct impact on their education.
A lot of eye problems develop early on, right around the time when kids are school-aged, starting from 4 years old. This makes it an essential part of life to visit the optometrist. This gives a trained optometrist the time they need to check how healthy your child’s eyes and vision are.
But it isn’t always easy to wrangle a child into going to any kind of doctor—as a parent, you’ve likely experienced this struggle! Fortunately, you can make it easier on yourself by preparing for a pediatric eye exam ahead of time.
Talking to Your Child About Their Vision
Children may not always realize they have vision problems. And if they do, they might not know how to tell you. It can help to keep an eye out for the following signs if you’re worried about your kid’s vision:
- They’re rubbing their eyes frequently
- They’re squinting when reading or writing
- They avoid reading
- They constantly complain about headaches
- There’s a sudden impact on their academic performance, like a change in grades or a significant loss of interest in something they used to find interesting.
If you notice any of these, it might be a sign your child is starting to have problems seeing clearly. It may be time to schedule a pediatric eye exam. It can be particularly helpful to talk to your kid beforehand and tell them you might have a way to help them see clearly.
What to Do to Prepare for an Eye Exam
When you’re preparing for a pediatric eye exam, there are a few things you should try to remember:
- Make sure you have any relevant documents about your medical history or make a list of any eye conditions that run in the family
- Make a note of any behavioral changes in your child
- Make a list of any medications your child is taking
- Bring any eyewear your child uses
- Bring your insurance information (if relevant)
But it isn’t just this kind of preparation. It can also help to:
- Bring comfort items for your kid, like their favorite blanket or toy
- Talk to them about the process so they know what to expect
- Arrive early to compensate for any potential delays
- Bring some snacks and water
This can help keep your child relaxed and comfortable during the exam.
What to Expect at an Eye Exam
Now that you’re prepared to go to the exam, it’s time to explain to your child what to expect. If they’ve never been to the optometrist, they might be feeling some kind of anxiety about the visit.
Fortunately, you can speak with them and ask about anything they might be worried about. Then you can explain what they can expect, like:
- A visual acuity test, where they read an eye chart on the wall
- A refraction test, where the optometrist is going to let them look through a bunch of cool different lenses to see which one’s the right match for your child
- The optometrist looking at their eyes to check for anything that shouldn’t be there
They might even use lights or machines to check different parts of your kid’s vision, which can be a fun experience! It’s important to encourage your child to ask questions—especially if they’re worried about something.
Remember: optometrists do this all the time, so your child is in safe hands.
The Reason to Have an Exam Even If Your Kid Has Had a School Vision Screening
School vision screenings are valuable for detecting major distance vision issues that may hinder a child’s ability to see the blackboard clearly. However, they might miss problems related to reading and focusing on nearby objects. This is a significant gap since nearly 80% of a child’s learning occurs at close range.
Comprehensive Vision Testing
Pediatric eye exams offer a more comprehensive assessment of your child’s visual health. During these exams, optometrists use various tools and techniques to evaluate both distance and near vision. This thorough evaluation can uncover issues that may affect your child’s ability to read, write, and engage with learning materials up close.
The Importance of Addressing Near Vision
Understanding and addressing near vision problems are vital because they can significantly impact your child’s educational experience. If left unaddressed, these issues can lead to difficulties in reading, writing, and even increased eye strain.
By opting for a pediatric eye exam, you’re ensuring that all aspects of your child’s vision are thoroughly evaluated, providing a more complete picture of their visual health. This proactive approach can lead to early detection and intervention if any vision issues arise, ultimately supporting your child’s learning and overall well-being.
Eye Care in Texas
At The Vision Place, we know how important your child’s vision is, and Dr. Palomino is here to help keep their vision clear. Our team is ready to help give your child a wonderful experience, so book a pediatric eye exam with us today.