For many parents, September marks the start of another school year and making sure your child is equipped with everything they need to do their best. While you’re making your to-do list, don’t forget to add “book an eye exam”!
While you may think eye exams are unnecessary if your child sees clearly (or isn’t complaining about their vision), it may be more helpful than meets the eye. The importance of these exams is much more than just finding out if your child’s vision is blurry and updating their prescription.
1. Eye exams can help figure out what will allow a child to succeed and learn better at school.
Good vision is vital to a child’s performance at school! Making sure your child sees clearly is crucial to their learning in classroom settings, as well as ensure that they are at their very best when it comes to sports and other activities that require good depth perception, visual acuity, and hand-eye coordination.
According to Dr. Sherman Tung, founder of Eyelab, “Myopia, or nearsightedness, is becoming a more prevalent problem in children. Because of the increasing amount of screen time, especially with the advent of online learning, more children are developing nearsightedness at an earlier age.”
A scheduled eye exam is an excellent way of checking whether your child is seeing clearly and identifying if they are at risk of developing myopia.
2. Eye exams can help us identify conditions and diseases that can affect the eye early, before they begin to impact your child’s vision later in life.
When we spend a long time looking at things close up, our eyeballs become elongated and stretched to compensate for visual stress, which weakens the back of the eye called the retina. This puts nearsighted children at greater risk for medical issues of the eye.
Dr. Elisa Xiao recommends having an eye exam every one to two years. “If your child develops a hole or tear in the back of the eye, and this is left unattended for an extended period, it could put your child at risk of more serious eye conditions down the line, such as a detachment of the retina,” explains Dr. Xiao. Retinal detachments can lead to permanent vision loss especially when they are not detected and treated immediately.
With the right myopia management plan, progression can be slowed by up to 80%. Some more notable methods used here at Eyelab are Ortho-K lenses, specialty multifocal lenses, and specialty myopia glasses.
3. Binocular vision issues are widely prevalent in school age children, and vision therapy is an excellent tool in your toolbox to help your child manage them.
Nearsightedness isn’t the only thing that can affect your child at a young age. Certain conditions can affect various components of how well your eyes work together, which can impact skills like depth perception and being able to switch quickly from looking far away to close up (which can be important when your child is taking notes in class)!
These types of problems subsequently cause issues such as eye strain, headaches, and double vision. With vision therapy, we can teach the visual system to correct these problems and provide lasting benefits. Pictured above is Dr. Melody Tong, who has extensive expertise in Vision Therapy. Dr. Tong believes that vision therapy can help many young children navigate their world, including school, which involves highly-intensive visual tasks.
At Eyelab, our approach employs lenses, prisms, filters, and computer-assisted visual activities. If your scheduled eye exam concludes your child may need visual therapy, we will work with you closely to develop plans to improve their visual skills and optimize their vision.
About Eyelab, Doctors of Optometry: Eyelab is a family-owned clinic in the heart of Kerrisdale in Vancouver founded by Dr. Sherman Tung in 2020. Eyelab is also home to Dr. Elisa Xiao and Dr. Melody Tong, who have been with the practice since its’ opening. From standard eye exams to myopia management and even vision therapy, our unique and dedicated team of doctors and staff at Eyelab strive to help all our patients with their family eye care needs. Should you have any concerns regarding their vision, or if you are itching to book an eye exam for them, don’t hesitate to contact us at (604) 260-1166, book an appointment online at https://helloeyelab.com/, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.