WHAT A SCHOOL-MANDATED VISION SCREENING WON'T FIND

Dr. Jim Martin 07/15/2015

8608479_orig.pngYour kid passed a vision screening at school or at the pediatrician. Everything is fine with his or her vision, right? The answer may not be what you think. Vision screenings are just quick ways of catching obvious problems. They are not a detailed exam done by an eye specialist.

What A Vision Screening Will Not Find

Here are a few reasons why vision screenings are not enough when it comes to your child's primary care.

  • Most screenings are not done by an eye doctor. These screenings are usually done by a nurse or your child's pediatrician. While both are qualified medical professionals, they do not specialize in diagnosing eye problems.

  • A comprehensive eye exam takes up to 60 minutes to complete, while a vision screening is done in 5 minutes or less. There is only so much that the person doing the screening can do in that short amount of time.

  • Vision screenings usually only test for nearsightedness. Many children deal with farsightedness or astigmatism, not nearsightedness. These conditions may not affect the child's ability to see the blackboard, but they do cause problems with reading and close work.

  • A typical screening does not test the muscles around the eye. Those muscles are critical for tracking and depth perception. A comprehensive exam includes assessing these muscles and seeing if there are any muscle conditions affecting vision.

  • Screenings do not include examining the inside of the eye. A medical assessment of vision done by an eye doctor includes looking inside the eye to see if there are any problems internally.
When Should A Child Have An Eye Exam

The American Optometric Association recommends the following schedule for children's eye exams:

  • Before age 1 - Infants can have eye problems, especially those who were born premature. A comprehensive exam done by a pediatric eye doctor can detect any issues early.

  • At age 2 or 3 - At preschool age, children are learning constantly. When the child is old enough to understand and respond to the eye doctor during the exam, it is time to make an appointment.

  • Before entering kindergarten - Good vision is essential for school learning. Kids should have an exam before entering school.

  • School age - A child with good vision should have an eye exam every year. A kid who wears glasses or has identified eye conditions should have an exam every year, or as recommended by the eye doctor.

If your child’s due for an eye exam, it is important to get this done before school begins in August.Contact Broome Optical in Amarillo to set an appointment today.

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