The end of August is nearing. You know what that means- back to school. And whether or not you’ve crossed everything off that supply list already, there’s one thing you might be forgetting: a comprehensive eye exam. August is Kids’ Eye Health and Safety Month, so as your kids go from the pool to the classroom, it’s important to make sure there are no vision or eye health-related issues that can affect your child’s academic performance this upcoming school year.
Did you know?
- It is estimated that 80% of classroom education is taught visually
- The inability to see clearly affects not only academic performance but also athletics and self-esteem.
- Common signs of vision troubles in children include: frequently rubbing eyes, squinting, tilting or turning head to look at objects, wandering eyes, or squeezing eyes.
- Eye safety is just as important as eye health. Every year thousands of children sustain an eye injury – 90 percent of which can be prevented if suitable protective eyewear is used.
The Kids Corner at Metro Optics’ Throggs Neck location
We picked a rainy Tuesday afternoon to stop in at Metro Optics’ Throggs Neck location to get both of my girls’ eyes checked. While neither have had signs of vision issues in the past, I wanted to get a full examination to be sure all was still well, especially since the official recommended frequency of examination is as follows:
While we have spent a big chunk of our summer outdoors and on vacation, my oldest recently passed on her love of Minecraft to my little one. While it may be adorable watching their sisterly bond as they fight zombies together on separate devices, I couldn’t help but be nervous about the extra screen time, what with 72 percent of Americans reporting that their children under the age of 18 get more than two hours of screen time per day. For The Vision Council’s complete 2017 Digital Eye Strain Report, click HERE.
The first part of the examination is the autorefraction, which provides a preliminary indication of whether or not refractive error such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism is present, and if so, it estimates the eyeglass prescription (the eye doctor later performs a manual refraction to determine the exact prescription). It took a little longer for my little one since she had more trouble sitting still and keeping her eyes opened, but the ophthalmic assistant Tyla was patient and Gia was done in no time.
After, we headed into the exam room where the girls had their individual examinations by Dr. Elisa de Junco. Since Gia has experienced some summer slide with her letters, we switched to symbols so the doctor had more accurate results. At one point, she even noticed that Briana had some spots in her eyes. We let her know she had swimming lessons that morning, and she gave her drops to relieve any dryness and irritation.
I’m very happy to report that neither of the girls needed glasses, but we found out they do have a slight astigmatism. While it’s not certain if this was exacerbated by their screen time, it was an important reminder to be sure they aren’t overdoing it, especially since This is something that we wouldn’t have known had we just relied on the vision test at the doctor’s office during a routine pediatric visit, or the screenings at the girls’ school.
Had the girls needed glasses, there is a great selection of kid’s eyewear (as well as adults of course). My oldest Briana, who is already inching towards my height, would have been able to utilize Metro Optics’ Magic Mirror, where folks can get a feel for what different eyewear shapes, colors and materials look best on their face.
So what’s the difference between a simple vision test and a comprehensive eye examination? According to the American Optometric Association:
Specialized equipment and procedures, which are not available as part of a vision screening, are needed to adequately evaluate your eyes and vision. Only an optometrist or ophthalmologist can conduct a comprehensive eye health and vision examination. These doctors have the specialized training necessary to make a definitive diagnosis and prescribe treatment, if necessary.
A comprehensive eye and vision examination includes:
- Patient and family health history
- Visual acuity measurement
- Preliminary tests of visual function and eye health, including depth perception, color vision, peripheral (side) vision and response of the pupils to light
- Assessment of refractive status to determine the presence of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism
- Evaluation of eye focusing, eye teaming and eye movement abilities
- Eye health examination (to check for signs of diseases of the eye)
- Additional tests as needed
Children or adults who pass a vision screening could still have an eye health or vision problem. Professional examinations are the only effective way to confirm or rule out any eye disease or vision problem. (information via www.aoa.org)
To schedule your children’s comprehensive eye exam, head over to www.metrooptics.com and find the location nearest you. They accept a wide range of insurances- including Medicaid- and the friendly staff and eye doctors made it an easy visit.
This post is in partnership with Metro Optics. As always, all opinions are our own.