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Add eye exam to your back-to-school check-list | 2 Wants to Know

Eye doctors recommend an annual exam every year for kids who need vision correction, and every two years for kids who don’t need vision correction.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The new school year is coming up, and Dr. Rachel Wruble says now's a great time to get your child's eyes tested.

The pediatrician checked my kid's vision and it was 20/20, do they still need an eye exam with an eye doctor?

Dr. Wruble says the most common vision problem in school-aged children is blurry vision or refractive error caused by nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism resulting in blurry vision. However, a child who can see clearly and have 20/20 vision can still have a vision problem relating to eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination. She says it is also important to check the inside health of the eye for any pediatric eye disease. Learning is difficult and stressful when certain visual skills have not developed or are poorly developed. A child may not tell you that they have a vision problem because they may think the way they see is the way everyone sees. Dr. Wruble says children will typically attempt to do the work, but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency.

What would I notice if my kids have a problem with their eyes?

  • Complaints of discomfort and fatigue
  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding reading and other close activities
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering or winking one eye
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Holding reading materials close to the face
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Seeing double
  • Losing place when reading
  • Difficulty remembering what he or she read

When should my child have an eye exam?

  • The American Optometric Association (AOA) says infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.
  • For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or according to their eye doctor’s recommendations. It's important for parents to make sure their children's eyes are healthy. Approximately 80 percent of all learning during a child's first 12 years comes through vision.

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