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Back to School – Care of Your Child’s Eyesight

Almost at the beginning of a new school year, parents and students are buying new school supplies, clothes, and ensuring each child arrives on their first day with everything they need. Unfortunately, getting your child's eyes checked is sometimes overlooked on the checklist. A child with good vision doesn't just see clearer, but vision is the gateway into the world of learning. "Addressing your child's eyesight at an early age will let him/her acquire a good education, develop proper learning skills, and participate in class without struggling due to vision impairment." Says Dr. Hofeldt from Kent Eye Clinic in Kent, WA.

What Do Pediatric Eye Exams Look For?

After each passing school year, multiple eye conditions can go unnoticed as your child grows up. However, a pediatric eye exam by a professional eye doctor can detect vision impairments early on and proactively treat them. For example, myopia or nearsightedness is one of the most common eye conditions amongst young students, where their eyesight will start to blur at 10 to 13 inches. Seeing up close is important for reading, writing, and staying focused in any activity, from the classroom to arts & crafts.

Farsightedness, while less common than myopia, also takes an essential part in your child's vision, especially when they need to read the board. Even during recess, your child faces challenges with hand-eye coordination and relies heavily on seeing at a distance. Along with farsightedness, binocular coordination, the ability to use both eyes together, can determine the development of a child's visual development peripheral awareness, and how they will complete homework. As a parent, your job is to keep an eye out for signs & symptoms about your child's vision, whether he/she may have a visual processing problem. An annual eye exam for your child with an expert eye doctor will ensure long term eye health and early detection of visual problems.

Some eye conditions, however, can lead to headaches, short attention span, or require guidance of a finger when reading. This could be convergence insufficiency. Convergence insufficiency means that your child experiences difficulty when focusing on a certain point up close, which causes words to jump out or blur as he/she attempts to read words or sentences. If you notice that your child's eyes don't seem to move together or in the same direction, and your child needs to tilt his head or squint in order to see clearly, this could be an indication of Strabismus.

There are a number of other possible symptoms like difficulty remembering, misidentifying shapes, or excessive blinking and rubbing eyes, and all these need an expert opinion of an eye doctor when determining your child's eye health.

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