Why Back-to-School Eye Exams Are Important

A typical back to school to-do list includes buying some new cloths, filling the school supply list of pencils, pens, notebooks, paper, etc. and getting a sports physical. What can be easily overlooked is getting an eye exam. Family Eyecare Centers knows how essential a comprehensive exam can be for your child's vision, eye health and learning ability, but also understands that "back-to-school" can be an overwhelming time of year.

"We like to think of "back-to-school" as more of a yearly window for scheduling eye exams," explains Dr. Vivianle Freeman of Family Eyecare's Offutt Air Force Base clinic. "Ideally, it's best to be done before the school year begins, but in the crunch of getting cloths, books, supplies and everything else before that first day, be assured you can still schedule your back-to-school eye exams within the first month of the school year."

A key reason not to put off a back-to-school eye exam is to recognize and address any vision problems early on, before they lead to learning problems and getting behind in school. This is especially critical for children up to twelve years old who accomplish 80% of all their learning through sight.

A recent web article by the Nebraska Optometric Association provides prominent symptoms you can identify even if your child says nothing about having vision problems. These are warnings to detect and act on quickly before the year goes any further:

  • Loses their place while reading
  • Avoids close work
  • Holds reading material closer than normal
  • Tends to rub his or her eyes
  • Has headaches
  • Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
  • Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
  • Uses finger to maintain place when reading
  • Omits or confuses small words when reading
  • Consistently performs below potential

The Iowa Optometric Association states some Vision Facts on their website including that one in four children experience vision problems and that children may not realize the way they see is not normal--that their vision is changing. In their early years a child's vision can change quickly over months so an annual eye exam is crucial to catch potential problems before they create learning challenges in school.

An unfortunate off-shoot to a learning problem is a behavior problem.   This  type of behavorial problem can be relatively easy to identify and correct.  Dr. Barry Jose, founder of Family Eyecare Center of Council Bluffs, has seen the connection more than once between failure to learn and a breakdown in behavior. "One time we had a mother bring her young son in for an exam. Before we started she shared how disappointing the new school year was going with her son. She felt this year her son wasn't trying to learn but was being influenced by the wrong kids to act up in class. I proceeded to give the son an exam and discovered his eyes were becoming quite nearsighted. This downgrade in vision probably meant he had real difficulty clearly seeing things in the classroom and was hurting his ability to learn.  We set him up with his first pair of glasses. A few months later the mother came back in to tell us the eyewear made all the difference as her son was learning and doing much better in school."    When young children can't understand why they are unable to see well it becomes very frustrating, which often is expressed in ways that disrupt the class. 

In our new "Student Vision" TV commercial, Dr. Amy Klein of our Tiburon Family Eyecare offices says a great line that goes "Good vision is essential to better learning." The truth of that statement works both ways. Poor vision inhibits learning. It's time to bring your student in for a complete eye exam.

Family Eyecare Center will give your student a comprehensive vision exam.   We also use digital retinal photography and other tools to assess the eye's health.   This complete exam gives us a total picture of what is happening and how we can help your child.     With a complete selection of frames, lenses and even contact lens, we can empower your son or daughter with the ability to see clearly--and that capability can only lead to bigger and better things!