Back to school check-ups encouraged for preventative vision care
With school coming soon it’s time to have your children’s eyes examined. Did you know that with new national health care laws all health insurances allow an eye exam and materials for all covered children?
It’s been found that 80 percent of learning is done visually. However the National Commission on Vision and Health found that one in four children have an undetected vision problem. Also 25 percent of school-age children suffer from vision problems that could have been addressed or eliminated if appropriate eye assessment programs and follow-up care had been in place when they started school. Even more surprising, up to 85 percent of academically and behaviorally at risk children in grades 5-8 in Title 1 programs have been found to have vision problems either undetected or untreated.
Why do these problems go undetected? School vision screenings (eye chart tests), as good as they can be, are generally designed only to test the ability to recognize stationary single objects (letters) at distance, and sometimes near point. However, much of the present day school work in classrooms takes place up close with books and computers. This environment demands increased vision skills of smoothly coordinated eye pointing and focusing, especially with computers. Vision screenings also don’t check eye health. Presently, signs of eye and systemic diseases are showing up in some young people that were only seen in the aged previously.
The good news is that a proper eye examination and treatment can often reduce these eye problems quickly. With this in mind, every school-age child, from kindergarten to college, should have a yearly eye exam to check eye health and proper function. Summertime is a good time for back to school eye exams for preventative information when the eyes are less strained, similar to a physical for sports. If later eyestrain develops from growth spurts, or other unforeseeable problems, a recheck can often find the cause and overcome the learning disorder more efficiently.
By maintaining good eye health and vision function, you give your child one of the best tools for learning available. With new insurance coverage, it may also be more affordable than any time before.
Dr. Scott Borgholthaus is owner of Vision Haus Optometry in Cheney. He is a member of the Optometric Physicians of Washington and has been in private practice for over 27 years.
Dr. Borgholthaus would love to answer and/or include any questions or comments in future columns. Please send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.