Time for your child’s school eye exam? Why choose a Developmental Optometrist at Clarendon Vision

Date Posted : July 22, 2021

As a parent, you probably already know that in the state of Illinois, every child is required to have an eye examination and completed report prior to beginning kindergarten.

But did you know that there is a difference in the eye exam done by a regular Optometrist and a Developmental Optometrist (aka Behavioral Optometrist)?

Unlike a regular Optometrist who checks for visual acuity (20/20 eyesight), a comprehensive vision exam done by a Developmental Optometrist at Clarendon Vision will also screen for:

  • Functional visual skills (how efficiently your eyes work together) that impact reading and learning. These skills include:
    • Focusing (aka Accommodation) or the ability to maintain focus important in tasks like copying from the board, retention and comprehension  of reading material.
    • Eye Teaming (aka Fusion) or the ability for the eyes to work together as a team, important in maintaining attention span and in coordination/accurately moving through space.
    • Tracking is the ability to stay on visual task, important in concentration and reading fluency.
    • Fixation is the ability to move the eyes accurately and quickly from point to point along a line, while processing the information at the same time. This skill is important in speed, fluency, comprehension and maintaining place while reading.
  • The impact of “blue light” from digital devices (dry eyes, retinal eye health, eye strain and headaches)
  • Risks for eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment
  • Eye complications from other health conditions like diabetes

Why is a screening done by a Developmental Optometrist important for my child?

Even children who have 20/20 acuity (eyesight) may have visual deficiencies that contribute to struggles with reading, learning and other behaviors. This is why we believe that every child should be screened by a Developmental Optometrist who can rule out any problems with the 17+ visual skills that are important to a fully functional visual system.

This more in-depth screening also detects underlying visual conditions such as amblyopia (poor vision in one or both eyes), strabismus (an eye turn), or ocular diseases. Further, one of the most common learning related vision conditions in children is convergence insufficiency. This binocular vision dysfunction causes poor eye alignment while reading which leads to visual fatigue. Conversely, this can have a significant impact on reading speed and comprehension.

While most eye care professionals do the minimum required to fill out the paperwork, developmental optometrists will screen for several other important conditions that affect vision and learning.

Early detection is important. If a child is flagged early on, they can be treated before it has a significant impact on their academic performance.

What can my child and I expect at the exam?

If a visual deficiency is identified, what happens next?

The doctor may recommend additional testing and evaluation to get a full scope of information. Glasses may be prescribed with specialty lenses called PRISM which are meant to support the visual system. Vision Therapy is a highly effective treatment option as well. Our Doctors and Patient Liaisons are here to guide you through the process, every step of the way.

To schedule an appointment, call us at 630-323-7300.

Not yet ready to speak to the doctor? Learn more about your child’s vision skills by taking the vision quiz.