Summer vacation is winding down already for Las Vegas area students, and that parents running through their annual back to school routines – shopping, immunizations, registration, etc. For Dr. Vivienne Velasco and the team at iFocus Vision Center, there’s no better time to remind parents of the importance of an annual back to school eye exam.

Because a child’s vision is still developing in their school age years, and with an alarming increase of Myopia (a.k.a. nearsightedness) among children, Dr. Velasco is advising parents to schedule eye exams for their children in order ensure they are starting off on the right foot.

“They say 80 percent of learning is visual,” explains Dr. Velasco. “To give your child the best chance of success in school, music, sports, or any activity, it is important that their vision and eye health are assessed before they face the high visual demands of school.”

Why Children Need Back to School Eye Exams

Traditionally, a child will have his or her first eye exam between 6 and 12 months, and then at least once between the ages of three and five. At six years old, or usually the time just before first grade begins, a child should have a comprehensive eye exam every year.

“In this era, when children are active on digital devices and computers more than they’ve ever been, it’s critical for parents to assess the health of the eye on an annual basis,” Dr. Velasco says. “A healthy eye will ensure that visual skills such as recognition, retention, and comprehension are developing properly.”

Additionally, many of the signs that a child has a vision problem are not obvious. Some signs, including squinting to see distant objects, holding reading material too close, complaining of headaches, and poor coordination and balance, are often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or other problems.

“The only way to determine if your child’s eyes are healthy and functioning well enough for the demands of school is by having a comprehensive eye exam,” Dr. Velasco says.

Vision Screenings vs. Comprehensive Eye Exam

An in-school vision screening or one conducted by your child’s pediatrician may seem like an acceptable alternative to scheduling an eye exam with an optometrist. However, when it comes to effectiveness and guaranteeing peace of mind for parents, the eye exam is always the better way to go, and is likely covered by a parent’s vision insurance.

“School vision screenings don’t tell the whole story,” Dr. Velasco explains. “In school screenings only check visual acuity and do not assess color vision, binocularity, depth perception, or the overall health of the eye, so a parent does not if the eyes are developing normally.”

Visual acuity is the clarity at which a person sees and is measured at a distance of 20 feet. However, Dr. Velasco explains, having 20/20 vision does not guarantee perfect vision, especially in children that are still developing.

To schedule your child’s comprehensive eye exam before the start of the new school year, contact Dr. Velasco at 702-473-5660 or book an appointment online via the iFocus Vision Center website.