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As you make your way down your back-to-school checklist, don’t forget to include scheduling an eye exam for your child. There is no better time than right now, as August is National Eye Exam Month(opens in a new tab)! Routine eye exams are critical for catching any eye problems early so you can stay healthy.

What About School Vision Screening?

Even though many schools offer vision screenings, you shouldn’t settle for the bare minimum. A vision screening is not as thorough as an eye exam. They are typically used to find very obvious vision problems, such as difficulty reading something far away. An eye exam performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist is the only thing that can tell you if your vision is clear, and it will catch early signs of possible eye diseases.

Common Eye Issues in Children

While we expect vision issues as we age, they can often be found in children as well. Some common childhood eye problems are

  • Astigmatism-Farsightedness-Nearsightedness - These three conditions, or refractive errors, are the most common eye problems in children and adults and are most often caused by abnormalities in the surface of the eye that prevent light from properly being focused on the retina.
  • Strabismus (Crossed Eyes) - A condition in which your eyes do not line up and look in different directions.
  • Double Vision - Also known as Diplopia, causes someone to see two images of one object. This can occur in both eyes, or one eye (Monocular Diplopia).
  • (Lazy Eye) - Reduced vision in one eye due to abnormal visual development.

Visual impairments in children can have a big impact on their learning experience and performance in school. Many children struggle in school when they have difficulty seeing the whiteboard, assigned readings, and more. Your child may not speak up about their difficulties, so it is important to make sure they are getting the eye care they need to succeed in school and other activities.

What Occurs in an Eye Exam?

During an eye exam, your child will undergo a series of tests to check for vision problems or signs of eye diseases. They may be asked to look through various lenses and have a light shined in their eyes.

Eye problems are most treatable when detected early, which is why regular eye exams are so important.

When To Get An Eye Exam

Depending on your child’s age and exam results, your optometrist will recommend how often they should get their eyes checked. Here are some recommendations for when your child should get their eyes examined:

  • Before the age of 3 years old, you should schedule an eye exam in which your pediatrician or eye care specialist will look for common childhood eye problems.
  • Between the ages of 3 and 5, a more comprehensive exam should be performed to find vision and eye alignment problems. .
  • Your child should always get their eyes examined before they enter kindergarten. After that, your eye care specialist can recommend how often they should return.

Getting regular eye exams is an essential part of your child’s health. Don’t forget to add an eye exam to their back-to-school list so they can return to school confidently. If you want to make sure your child can see as clearly as possible, schedule an appointment with Premier Medical Associates today.

Looking for an eye care specialist in Pittsburgh? We’ve got you covered. Premier Medical Associates is an affiliate of the Allegheny Health Network and is the largest multi-specialty physician practice in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Our highly experienced Ophthalmologists provide eye exams and disease management for you and your child’s needs. Visit our Ophthalmology department at our Forest Hills location or call us at 412-457-0422 for more information.