– Ed

Vision screenings are general eye tests that are meant to help identify people who are at risk for vision problems. Screenings include brief vision tests performed by a school nurse, paediatrician or volunteers. The eye test you take when you get your driver’s license renewed is another example of a vision screening.

Most vision screenings rely on a measurement of visual acuity – how well you can see with each eye. A person with 6/6 vision can still suffer from visual anomalies such as hyperopia, eye muscle imbalance or ocular disease to mention a few. A vision screening can indicate that you need to get an eye exam, but it does not serve as a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam and screenings often miss vision issues. Parents should never be content that their child has “passed” a vision screening at school.

A comprehensive eye examination is performed by an optometrist and will involve careful testing of all aspects of your vision. Based upon the results of your exam, your optometrist will then recommend a treatment plan for your individual needs. Remember, only an Eye Care Professional can provide a comprehensive eye exam.

Treatment plans can include spectacles or contact lenses, myopia control, eye exercises or surgery for muscle problems, medical treatment for eye disease or simply a recommendation that you have your eyes examined again in a specified period of time.

No matter who you are, annual eye exams are important for seeing more clearly, learning more easily, better functional vision for sports performance and preserving your vision
for life.

How Can I See a Vision Problem in My Child?

When you know what you’re looking for, it can be relatively easy to spot a problem with your child’s vision. Keep an eye out for these symptoms or behaviours:

  • Avoiding or not liking reading
  • Short attention span
  • Look at someone or something with one or both eyes partly closed in an attempt to see more clearly or as a reaction to bright light.
  • Squint – deviation of one eye
  • Difficulty throwing or catching a ball, copying from a chalkboard or tying their shoes
  • Pulling a book in close to their face, or sitting too close to a TV
  • Lots of blinking or eye rubbing
  • Guiding their eyes with a finger or pencil while reading
  • Falling performance in school

Remember, your child can’t explain that they have a vision problem – they have no understanding of what it means to see properly! So don’t leave their eye health up to them; make sure they get a comprehensive eye exam!

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