The Importance of Back-to-School Vision Screening
Good vision remains vital to a child's success in the classroom, making it essential to find and correct eye problems before they interfere with school.
"CBS This Morning" explored this topic in a back-to-school eye exam segment featuring ophthalmologist Anne Sumers, M.D., spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Sumers explained when and why children need vision screenings and eye exams — and how kids might even learn to love their glasses.
Nearsightedness common in children
Dr. Sumers noted that many children struggle with myopia, or nearsightedness. One study showed that more than a third of U.S. children ages 12 to 17 are nearsighted, which is a sharp increase from the 1970s when only 24 percent of kids in this age group had myopia.
Unfortunately, many children do not get their eyes checked at all. In fact, almost 40 percent of children in the United States have never undergone a vision screening.
When kids need to get vision screenings and eye exams
The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests that school age children get a vision screening every one or two years by a family doctor, pediatrician, school nurse, optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Dr. Sumers said children will not often complain of not being able to see, making screenings that much more important. Other times, parents and teachers will be the ones to notice signs of vision problems in children, such as:
- Squinting when looking in the distance
- Sitting too close to the TV
- Reoccurring headaches while reading
In these cases, children should be referred for a vision screening. If a child fails the vision screening, the Academy recommends seeing an ophthalmologist to get a comprehensive pediatric eye exam to check for diseases and conditions, including lazy eye.
Learn more about children's eye health at these related pages on EyeSmart: