Kids Need Eye Exams, Too
Pedro Gomez OD
Good vision is essential for children to reach their full academic potential. It's been widely stated that roughly 80 percent of what children learn in school is presented visually, and vision problems can have a profound effect on learning.
According to the American Optometric Association, an estimated 20 percent of preschool children have vision problems. Other research shows that 24 percent of adolescents with correctable refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism) don't have their vision fully corrected with up-to-date prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Also, children are using computers and other digital devices much more extensively and start using these devices at a much younger age than children in the past. The illuminated screens of these modern devices tend to be more visually demanding than books and other printed text.
Increased use of digital devices by children has occurred simultaneously with another significant trend — an unprecedented increase in myopia among children in the U.S. and worldwide. These two trends have led many eye care professionals to believe computers and digital devices play an important role in the development of nearsightedness and myopia progression. This makes it more important than ever for children to have their eyes examined routinely to identify and treat vision problems.
Vision screenings are helpful to identify children who already have significant myopia, but screenings aren't sensitive or thorough enough to identify all children who have vision problems that can affect their learning.
Pedro Gomez OD.
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