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By Dr. John Frederick

Getting ready for back to school: early vision screenings for children.

Vision problems affect one in ten preschoolers and one in five school-age children. Children often don’t realize they have vision problems, yet until age 12, vision is 80% responsible for the learning process. Since many vision problems begin at an early age, it is very important that children receive proper eye care.

Eye care experts recommend that children undergo an eye exam by the age of three. While school eye screenings provide some helpful feedback, these screenings take place later in childhood. Some eye problems should be diagnosed and treated earlier in the child’s growth for optimal results.

Eye Surgeons utilizes special equipment/testing that detects a wider array of eye concerns such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid), color deficiency (color blindness) and refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism).

A toddler’s eye exam should be as customary as receiving regular check-ups by the doctor and seeing the dentist. Follow this list for helpful hints when bringing your toddler in for an initial exam.

  • Consider scheduling your appointment to avoid nap times when possible
  • Bring a favorite stuffed animal or blanket for the first visit
  • Bring a snack and quiet activities to help pass the time (it takes time for the dilation drops to work)
  • Prepare the child at home by discussing what eye drops are and how they work
  • Eye dilation is an essential part of the eye exam, bring your child’s sunglasses for a more comfortable ride home or remember to pick up a temporary pair at check out
  • Feel free to offer up a reward for good behavior during the visit

Incoming kindergartners for 2018-2019 school year require an eye exam in Illinois. ESA offers special school exam pricing to ensure their vision doesn’t interfere with school performance.

Dr. Frederick is board-certified with a fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and sees patients in our Rock Island and Bettendorf clinics.

The material contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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