eye exam vs screening
It is important to know that a vision screening by a child's pediatrician or at his or her preschool is not the same as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist.
Vision screenings are a limited process and can't be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather may indicate a potential need for further evaluation. They may miss as many as 70% of children with vision problems. Even if a vision screening does not identify a possible vision problem, a child may still have one.
Passing a vision screening can give parents a false sense of security. Many preschool vision screenings only assess one or two areas of vision. They may not evaluate how well the child can focus his or her eyes or how well the eyes work together. Generally color vision, which is important to the use of color coded learning materials, is not tested.
By age 3, your child should have a thorough optometric eye examination to make sure his or her vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, our optometric physicians can prescribe treatment, including eyeglasses and/or vision therapy, to correct a vision development problem.
With today's diagnostic equipment and tests, a child does not have to know the alphabet or how to read to have his or her eyes examined. We have state-of-the-art equipment to perform a comprehensive exam even when a child can not read letters or numbers.
Here are several tips to make your child's optometric examination a positive experience:
- Make an appointment early in the day. Allow about one hour.
- Talk about the examination in advance and encourage your child's questions.
- Explain the examination in terms your child can understand, comparing the E chart to a puzzle and the instruments to tiny flashlights and a kaleidoscope.
Your child should have a routine eye evaluation by an optometric physician starting at age 3 and every year following.