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It’s time for Back to School Eye Exams.

Understanding the Difference Between a Vision Screening and a Vision Examination

It is important to know that a vision screening by a child’s pediatrician or at his or her preschool is not the same as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist. Vision screenings are a limited process and can’t be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather may indicate a potential need for further evaluation. They may miss as many as 60% of children with vision problems. Even if a vision screening does not identify a possible vision problem, a child may still have one.

Passing a vision screening can give parents a false sense of security. Many preschool vision screenings only assess one or two areas of vision. They may not evaluate how well the child can focus his or her eyes or how well the eyes work together. Generally color vision, which is important to the use of color coded learning materials, is not tested.

By age 3, your child should have a thorough optometric eye examination to make sure his or her vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, your doctor of optometry can prescribe treatment, including eyeglasses and/or vision therapy, to correct a vision development problem.

With today’s diagnostic equipment and tests, a child does not have to know the alphabet or how to read to have his or her eyes examined. Here are several tips to make your child’s optometric examination a positive experience:

  1. Make an appointment early in the day. Allow about one hour.
  2. Talk about the examination in advance and encourage your child’s questions.
  3. Explain the examination in terms your child can understand, comparing the E chart to a puzzle and the instruments to tiny flashlights and a kaleidoscope.

Unless your doctor of optometry advises otherwise, your child’s next eye examination should be at age 5. By comparing test results of the two examinations, your optometrist can tell how well your child’s vision is developing for the next major step into the school years.

For more information about infant,  preschool, and school age exams go to the link below.

http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/childrens-vision?sso=y

American

2016 Young Optometrist of the Year

Christopher Wolfe, O.D.

http://www.aoa.org/christopherwolfe?sso=y