Even the best of students will struggle in school if they cannot see clearly. Students need clear eyesight for seeing the board, copying notes, following lectures on Power Point, reading textbooks and many other important visual learning methods. Children’s eyes change dramatically as they grow, and so it is important to have their eyes checked frequently.
Changes in Vision Are Normal
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a common condition among elementary children, with an onset around the age of 6 or 7. Parents should not be alarmed, but myopia often worsens throughout the teenage years. Many children experience the most dramatic increase in nearsightedness between the ages of 11 and 13. Eyesight then tends to stabilize around the late teens and early twenties.
One of the most important decisions that you can make for your children is to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams so their eye doctor can assess the progression of any eye issue. Sometimes, prescriptions can change even in a matter of months, so ask your children to tell you if they feel like their vision becomes blurry again. This is not uncommon and is not a reason for concern. In children changing eyesight is rarely a symptom for an underlying medical condition (Source: Chicago Tribune Health).
Help Your Child See Clearly
Here are some suggestions to help keep you informed about your child’s vision:
- Say “yes” to vision screenings—Public schools host annual vision screenings for students in certain grade levels. Always allow your child to have a vision screening.
- Schedule well visits each year with your pediatrician—Most well-visits include a visual acuity test where the child covers one eye at a time and reads a vision chart. Ask your pediatrician to always have the nurse do a vision test each year.
- Choose a family optometrist or ophthalmologist in your area—Find a local eye care professional that you can call if your child experiences any vision problems or develops an eye infection or condition that causes you concern.
- Stay current with regular comprehensive eye exams—Schedule comprehensive eye exams for the whole family, preferably right before school starts. Talk to your eye care professional about how often each family member should have a comprehensive eye exam. This answer may vary for each person.
Children will perform their best in school when they can see clearly. Good vision will boost confidence, encourage class participation, and may even raise grades on report cards. Give your children the best advantage by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam before school begins.