Back-to-School: Are vision problems harder to detect in children?

By Inderpreet K. Datta, OD

Routine comprehensive eye exams are an important part of preventative eye health. Oftentimes, patients feel that if they are seeing well enough, then having their eyes regularly checked is not necessary. This is not always true. Many eye conditions have no obvious signs or symptoms and can go undetected for many years. Early detection and treatment of some of these conditions can result in a better visual outcome in the long run.

During a routine eye exam the doctor will not only check to see if you need a prescription for glasses or contacts, but will also examine the overall health of your eyes. He or she will examine both the front and back structures of the eyes. The goal will be to rule out common eye conditions such as dry eye, blepharitis (eyelid disease), glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. Other, uncommon conditions, such as tumors, can also be detected during an eye exam.

The back of the eye can give us a bigger picture of a patient’s overall systemic (body) health. Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can be detected by looking at the back of the eye. If early signs of any systemic problems are detected, your eye doctor can refer you back to your regular doctor to begin treatment. Early detection results in early treatment and less future complications. Many common medications that are taken routinely can have side effects on the eyes. For patients taking these medications, it is especially important to get regular eye exams to ensure that there is no effect on the eyes or their vision.

Although patients of all ages should get their eyes checked yearly, it is imperative that children have their eyes examined before starting school. Children are usually unaware that what they are seeing is not as clear as it could be. Good vision is very important for overall learning and success in school. As children grow, their eyes and vision can change, so, it also important to continue having your child’s eyes examined yearly.

The importance of routine eye exams for you and your family cannot be emphasized enough. Good eye health is more then just seeing well. It is important to rule out any eye conditions that may result in poor vision in the future. So, don’t wait another minute; schedule an eye exam with your local eye doctor today. Your vision is precious.

Inderpreet Datta, OD is the owner of River’s Bend Eye Care.

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