Back to School Wellness

Date Posted : September 26, 2018

Back-to-School health and wellness checks are a part of the family calendar. Whether it’s proof of a dental exam, updated vaccines, or a sports physical giving a student approval to participate in team sports, parents often find the last few weeks of summer consumed by shuttling children from one health care provider to another.

Here in Illinois, where Clarendon Vision is located, childhood vision screenings are mandated by the state in kindergarten, second, and eighth grades, and are typically conducted in school. Illinois is also one of 16 states that require vision screening of pre-school aged children annually. These state-required screening tests are one step meant to help parents and children identify any vision-related challenges as early as possible so appropriate therapies can be started.

As your eye doctors, we are primarily concerned about your eye health and your vision. Are you on a regular schedule of visiting your eye doctor once a year? How about your family? Are your children receiving regular vision screenings? While in-school screenings can identify previously undiagnosed problems, the best way to stay on top of your child’s vision and eye health is by a regularly scheduled checkup with Dr. Spokas for a comprehensive vision examination.

Most vision screenings address only visual clarity. A developmental optometrist will screen for diseases that impact the eye as well as functional vision problems in addition to assessing visual clarity.

Functional vision problems can impact school-aged children in significant ways. For example, some children lose their place when reading, or will not be able to smoothly track across a line of text. Others may have issues with aligning numbers well due to deficits in visual tracking. Some may report problems with words overlapping on a page or popping up out of a page due to problems with eye teaming.

A child suffering with one of these problems may be falling behind in classes or frustrated when they seem to have more problems with reading or math than their peers. Any of these functional vision challenges can impact children’s ability to be successful in school settings, yet most won’t arise in a basic vision screening exam which is focused on vision clarity and specifically how well someone can see and read from an eye chart.

We know regular dental checkups are a good idea. Taking children to the doctor at least once a year is a regular part of parenting. So, too, should be your child’s annual vision exam with an optometrist, or specifically a developmental optometrist who understands childhood vision and focuses on a patient’s ability to use their eyes to receive information and process it. These are essential skills for school-aged children to help them develop confidence and succeed at school. Call us today to schedule your child’s back-to-school vision exam.