The difference between eye exams and visual screenings for children

The difference between eye exams and visual screenings for children

When the visual demands of homework and computers begin at school, many children will complain of tired eyes, headaches, eyestrain and even double vision. Some children are silent because these symptoms seem normal to them.  This can lead to lower grades, reading problems, poor spelling and low self-esteem.

Q: How many children have undetected vision problems?

A: According to the AOA, one in four kids has a vision problem.

Q: Doesn’t my child get a vision screening at school?

A: There are significant differences between Vision Screenings and Comprehensive Vision Examinations.  Parents should be aware that there may be no set standards and criteria for passing a vision screening. Results can be determined arbitrarily and the standard eye chart alone only identifies five percent of the vision problems in children according to the American Foundation for Vision Awareness. Without a comprehensive eye exam, many children have vision problems that remain undiagnosed, and may even be misdiagnosed as a learning disorder. Comprehensive vision examinations can only be conducted by an eye care professional with the specialized training and equipment needed to make a definitive diagnosis and prescribe treatment

Q: What specific things are tested during a comprehensive eye exam?

A: Visual Acuity is measured at several distances so that the student can comfortably and efficiently read, work on the computer or see the board.

Focusing or accommodation is an important skill that is tested. The eyes must be able to focus on the object at which they are aimed and easily shift focus from one object to another. This allows the child to move attention from a book or paper to the chalkboard and back. Sustained focus affects the ability to read or write for longer periods of time.

Visual Alignment and ocular motility, which means the muscles aiming each eye converge so that both eyes are aimed at the same object, refining depth perception.

Binocular Fusion (eye teaming) skills are assessed. These skills are critical to coordinate and align the eyes precisely so the brain can fuse the pictures it receives from each eye into a single image.

Eye Tracking skills are tested to determine if the child can track across a page accuratelyand efficiently while reading, and can copy material quickly and easily from the chalkboard or another piece of paper.

Testing of Color Vision prior to school age is conducted since a large part of the earlyeducational process involves the use of color identification and discrimination.

Eye-Hand-Body Coordination, critical for handwriting, throwing a ball or playing an instrument, and visual perception, used to interpret and understand visual information form, size, orientation, texture and color perception, is another important visual function that is tested.

 The Refractive state of the visual system, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism is determined.

Ocular Health is determined by examining the structures of the eye.

It is important to have your preschooler in for a comprehensive vision examination by Kindergarten.  Our Doctors and Staff have the specialized training and equipment needed to prescribe treatment for your precious little one, if needed.