According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), most of a child’s learning occurs through use of his or her eyes. School activities – reading, writing, sports, play, and the use of technology like smart boards, desktop PCs and tablets, to name only a few – place many demands on a child’s vision.
Moreover, different activities place different requirements on a child’s vision: some tasks require children to view things very close to them, while others require the ability to see things far away; activities like looking from a smart board at the front of the classroom back to a journal or piece of paper at a child’s desk require the eyes to be able to focus clearly at changing distances; when reading a book or passage, the eyes must move together or “team up”; and many sports require children to be able to visually track moving objects with their eyes with good acuity and depth perception.
While a vision screening done at your pediatrician’s office or at school can identify distance vision problems, these screenings may not be able to identify other vision problems that may impede a child’s success at school or playing sports.
It’s also difficult for children to express that they are having a vision problem – they may think what they see is what everyone else sees. Some signs the AOA lists that may indicate a child has a vision problem are:
- Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
- Avoiding reading and other “close” activities
- Frequent headaches
- Covering one eye
- Tilting the head to one side
- Holding reading materials close to the face
- An eye turning in or out
- Short attention span
- Seeing double
- Losing place when reading
- Difficulty remembering what he or she read
Given the above, all students can benefit from a comprehensive eye examination to ensure they have the best possible vision and eye health to meet the demands of school work and extra-curricular activities. Beyond a vision screening, which typically measures distance clarity, a comprehensive exam also includes measurements of the potential need for eye glasses, eye alignment, depth perception, and color perception. Additionally, symptomless, sight-threatening eye disease, such as glaucoma or retinal pathology, can also be screened by eye pressure measurement and a pupil-dilated examination.
The AOA recommends that children receive a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years, or more frequently based on risk factors or as recommended by a child’s doctor.
At our new Visual Services department at Harvard Vanguard Burlington, Dr. Lombardo is providing comprehensive eye examination in a relaxed, positive environment for children and adults, ages 5 and older. Eye examinations with him may be scheduled at 781-221-2625. To find other Harvard Vanguard locations that offer eye exams, please click here.