Things You Will Need
Schedule an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist before school starts. Because a child's vision may change frequently, the AOA recommends that children receive their first eye exam at six months of age, then comprehensive eye exams beginning at age three, before they enter school, and then every two years unless otherwise advised.
While a pediatrician's screening and a school vision test are helpful, neither is a substitute for a thorough eye exam. An examination evaluates how well the eyes see. It also measures the ability of the eyes to work together, to focus properly and to move together in activities such as reading a page of print. Many children identified as problem learners actually suffer from undetected vision problems. The earlier a vision problem is detected and treated, the more likely the treatment will be successful.
Parents and teachers should keep a watch for signs that a child's vision may be impaired between eye exams. The following are signs that a child may be experiencing vision difficulties in the classroom:
- Holding reading material closer than normal
- Having a short attention span when doing close work
- Skipping words when reading
- Turning or tilting their head
- Rubbing their eyes
- Loses their place while reading
- Squints while reading or watching television
- Struggles to complete assignments
- Omits or confuses small words
- Uses a finger to maintain place while reading
- Has frequent headaches (these can be related to other health conditions and should be evaluated by your pediatrician)
Good vision is one of the most important parts of the learning process and success in school. When a child's vision is not working properly due to eye problems, learning and class participation suffers.
Tips & Warnings
Parents should also get regular eye exams. This is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your eyes for years to come. Early diagnosis of any problems can be crucial in successful treatment.
The American Optometric Association