Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Parent to Parent: Back to School Eye Exam
Back to school preps for many kids includes a physical. When it comes to vision, most parents rely on screenings at the pediatrician's office. But, in tonight's Parent to Parent, Seven's Lynn Martinez tells us you may want to look at that issue differently.
WSVN -- For the Holodak family, back to school means a yearly trip to the eye doctor.
Twelve-year-old Greg is nearsighted and already wears contacts.
Greg Holodak: "I started squinting when I was watching TV. I couldn't really see stuff as well as I could earlier."
His 10-year-old sister Veronica is also starting to have problems.
Veronica Holodak: "Qs look like Gs and I can't see anything, and it's really confusing, and I can't read most of the signs that we pass."
Their mom is not surprised.
Maria Holodak: "My husband needed glasses when he was very young, so I guess that's been handed down to them"
Optometrist Dr. Barry Kay says no matter what the family history, all kids should have yearly eye exams with an eye doctor when they first begin school.
Dr. Kay: "In an eye exam, we're checking all aspects, motor ability, depth perception, and that's just the visual aspects, and then of course there's the eye health exam."
Doctors look to see how well a child uses both eyes together. If they can see near and far away, they also check the ability to focus and peripheral vision.
Dr. Kay: "Does it look better when I do this?"
Veronica Holodak: "A lot better."
And kids do need to be checked. It's estimated that one in four children have vision problems.
Dr. Kay: "I find that the majority of the kids come up with the more classic problems, like nearsightedness and astigmatism and farsightedness, really tends to start popping up around first grade."
In between eye exams doctors say, look for warning signs of vision problems. Including not being able to see the blackboard, headaches or eyestrain or if your child constantly loses his place while reading.
Dr. Kay: "Look up again, then down again, beautiful."
After a thorough exam, mom's suspicions are confirmed. Like her brother, Veronica is nearsighted.
Dr. Kay: "When we asked her, she said, 'Yeah, I had to go to the front of the room at the end of the year.' Little tell-tale signs and then, sure enough, she needs her first pair of glasses today."
It doesn't take long to find the perfect fit, and for Veronica and her family, it's crystal clear. A yearly vision exam is one test they can't afford to miss.
The American Optometric Association says children should have their first eye exam at six months of age then again when they're 3 years old, and then annually when school begins.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Valerie Goode
Dr. Barry M. Kay
American Optometric Association