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Why your child deserves an eye exam

  • Written by K. W. Scarbrough, OD Eagle Eye Vision Care, PS

It has been estimated that in children 80 percent of learning occurs through the eyes. In school, children use books, computers, white boards and smart boards. Children also use their eyes during play. If vision is not optimal it can affect performance both in academics and sports.

All parents want their children to have the best opportunity for success and vision is a big part of that. If a child cannot see well the child may become discouraged and frustrated. When certain visual skills are not developed learning is hampered. These visual skills go far beyond just clear 20/20 vision. The eyes also need to be coordinated with each other, able to locate objects accurately in space, stay focused for long periods of time and move quickly back and forth. Depth perception, otherwise known as 3-D, is only experienced when all these actions occur effortlessly. Color vision is genetically determined and is important for future vocational choices.

An eye examination includes not just determination of how clear the vision is but also how well the child functions. The child is asked to read the chart, sit for a moment to determine a starting point for the prescription, then, if able, to discern clarity in a variety of lens combinations.

Also needed for children, though, is determination of depth perception, eye coordination, eye tracking and color perception. Both external and internal eye health are evaluated. After this a summary should be shared with the patient and the parents indicating the diagnosis and treatment of any issues found.

For children glasses are usually the starting point. These come in a variety of sturdy but attractive styles. Polycarbonate lenses are used because they are impact resistant and have a scratch resistant coating and UV protection built into them. Contact lenses can be prescribed for children, especially for sports. The recommendation is often for the one-use lenses to limit exposure to chemicals and reduce the likelihood of infection or overwear.

Children grow and change, and so can their prescription. A few children need a prescription to correct their vision at a very young age but most do not. Some young children need glasses to correct a turned eye or a “lazy” eye. Many children as they reach early puberty need correction for distance. This is known as myopia or nearsightedness.

Observing family members can help predict the need for glasses before birth, although there can be surprises. Wearing glasses or not wearing them rarely influences the final outcome. Glasses can be prescribed for distance, reading or both. Insurance benefits vary but can be used to help reduce cost.

Every child deserves the best start in life and vision is a big part of that. Integrating in-depth eye examinations into the annual health regimen can help a child achieve success in life.

Eagle Eye Vision Care PS
17320 135 Ave NE, #D
Woodinville, WA 98072
425-398-1862
www.eevisioncare.com

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