A: The American Optometric Association states that a child should have a comprehensive eye exam when he or she is 6 months old, again at 3 years old, and then every two years thereafter. I find that parents are generally unaware that this is the recommended examination schedule. I also find that it is a common misconception that vision screenings at school or the pediatrician replace the need for an examination by an eyecare professional. While screenings are a useful tool to detect possible vision problems, they are unable to diagnose what the issue is or determine a treatment plan. Screenings also cannot uncover all vision problems, as only distance acuity is tested. A comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist tests not only acuity at a distance, but also acuity up close, accommodation, refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism), ocular alignment and motility, fusion or depth perception, eye tracking, color vision and ocular health.
Vision is an extremely important part of education. Many children with undiagnosed vision problems struggle in the classroom. If vision is difficult, it makes any learning task more work. Ensuring that a child has good vision (visual acuity, eye health, visual integration and visual skills) is just one thing that can help set him or her up for success in the classroom. I enjoy seeing patients of all ages and tailor each exam to the child’s abilities and needs. Call 1-515-224-1317 to schedule an appointment.
Information provided by Dr. Lisa Lansink, One Hour Optical, 4100 University Ave., West Des Moines, 244-1317.