School days: Time for comprehensive eye exams- Some vision problems may not have warning signs

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on July 31, 2019 with No Comments

For kids around the country, it’s getting ready for back-to-school time. Increasingly, this means loading up backpacks with electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Comprehensive eye exams are one of the most important investments a parent can make.

American Optometric Association (AOA’s) Back-to-School public relations campaignfocuses on these electronic devices-and the eye health issues that may come with them. The campaign is geared toward educating parents about the importance of comprehensive eye exams.

These exams are especially important in an era when smartphones and tablets are evolving from a trend to a necessity in school. Children of all ages may face visual challenges, including a temporary condition called computer vision syndrome.

“When children stare at screens for hours each day, it may cause visual discomfort that can interfere with their ability to focus and learn,” says AOA spokesperson Kimberly Friedman, O.D. “As a mom and an eye doctor, I know first-hand just how important it is for school-age children to receive comprehensive eye examinations prior to heading back into a classroom.”

Many of the same healthy habits that protect your general health also promote healthy eye sight and help protect your eyes:

• Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables

• Drinking water to hydrate your body and your eyes

• Not smoking, and avoiding long-term smoke exposure

• Wearing ultraviolet (UV) eye protection

• Considering appropriate vitamin supplements

• Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and carotenoids such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin have shown some promise in research studies at reducing the risk and progression of eye problems

• Regular medical and eyecare checkups

Why comprehensive exams matter

As children become more frequent users of technology, eye doctors should warn parents about the signs or symptoms of CVS or undiagnosed vision problems that indicate the need for an eye exam. The AOA warns that one in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem simply because they may not recognize that their eyesight isn’t optimal or is changing.

“Comprehensive eye exams are one of the most important investments a parent can make to help maximize their child’s education and contribute to overall health and well-being, especially since some vision problems may not have warning signs,” Dr. Friedman adds. “Unfortunately, parents and educators often incorrectly assume that if a child passes a school screening, their vision is fine.”

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Questions to ask before your eye exam…

  • Do you accept my insurance plan’s vision coverage?
  • Is payment required at the time of service?
  • What will my eye examentail?
  • How long should I expect to be there?
  • Will my pupils be dilated?
  • What should I bring with me?

Questions to ask at your eye exam…

  • Given my age, eye condition and other risk factors, how often should I have my eyes examined?
  • At what age should I start to schedule my children for regular eye exams?
  • What lens designs and options are a good fit for me?
  • Can my glasses block UV rays?
  • Do all sunglasses protect my eyes from UV rays?
  • What are photochromic lenses and are they a good option for me?

Things to remember

It’s always a good idea to bring any of the following (if available) to your eye exam appointment:

  • Your insurance card/insurance information.
  • A list of all medications, vitamins and other supplements you are taking.
  • All pairs of prescription glasses you currently own.
  • If you have it, a copy of your latest eyeglass prescription.
  • Information on frames you like, or lenses you’ve researched.
  • Don’t forget, if participating in a flexible spending account program, you may be able to use the account to pay for portions of your eye-care not covered directly by your insurance plan.

Having your eyes examined, essential to healthy sight.


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