Pre-School Registration & Eye Exams
When should you schedule your child’s first eye exam? Spring brings about registration for a new pre-school year and as you make your choice on where you want your child to go to school, you should also make a choice to have their eyes examined prior to starting school. Experts say 5 -10 % of preschoolers and 25 % of school-aged children have vision problems.
Every experience a preschooler has is an opportunity for growth and development. Children use their vision to guide other learning experiences. From ages 2 to 5, your child will be fine-tuning the visual abilities gained during infancy and developing new ones.
At preschool, children will depend on their vision to learn tasks that will prepare them for school. Visually-guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and visual perceptual abilities will be developed to enable your child to learn to read and write.
VISION SCREENING AND AN EYE EXAMINATION ARE NOT THE SAME
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 a doctor of optometry. 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. These screenings may lull parents into a false sense of security and 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.
Early identification of a child’s vision problem is crucial because, if left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade — at about age 5 or 6.”
The AOA estimates one in four school-aged kids have undetected vision problems that critically impact their visual perceptual skills:
- RECOGNITION — knowing the difference between letters like ‘b’ and ‘d’
- COMPREHENSION — ‘picturing’ what’s happening in a story they’re reading
- RETENTION – remembering and recalling details about what they’ve just read
Here are some tips for eye exams for young children.
- Schedule the appointment during a time when your child is alert and happy taking into account napping and eating times
- A case history will be conducted to determine birth history, birth weight, medical issues, and any allergies
- Be sure to note any delayed motor development, failure to maintain eye contact, poor eye tracking, frequent eye rubbing or blinking
Making a child comfortable with puppets and the use of our “Special Lights” allow us to have fun with children as we look for the following things:
- How the eye tracks and turns
- High Refractive Error – meaning significant far or nearsightedness
- Overall Eye Health
With just a little patience and a quick response time, a 2-year-old’s eye exam can go as smoothly as an adult eye exam. For young children who can’t read letters yet, no worries, we use shapes and colors. No matter what age, regular eye exams are important. If you have concerns about your child’s vision, tracking ability, or overall eye health, give our offices a call at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444.
About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening and Saturday appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more information, visit bisselleyecare.com or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.