With the school year approaching it's never been more important to get children's eyes checked.
I spoke with the experts at Stine Eye Center in Wausau to get the inside scoop on back-to-school eye exams.
"Eighty-percent of a child's learning during their first 12 years of life is obtained through their vision," says Dr. Larry Addison of Stine Eye Center. "If there is a vision issue in those first few years of school and life it can be really detrimental."
Addison recommends a check-up at a minimum of every one to two years. He says back-to-school eye exams are not very different from regular exams. They examine the health of the eyes, including the front and back. They also look to see if a prescription is needed for glasses. With children, one of the most important things to check is that their eyes are focusing well together, so they'll look for signs of lazy or wandering eye which can hinder depth perception.
He says some common signs of vision problems are:
-Children losing their place while reading
-Avoiding class work and sitting towards the front of the classroom
-Rubbing their eyes excessively
-Turning or tilting of the head
-Tripping over letters while reading and going back to re-read the sentence
-Using a finger to maintain their place in reading
Addison recommends that parents bring their children in prior to kindergarten because that is when they'll have the most visually demanding tasks.
"Once they have gone through things like a growth spurt or if they're going from one grade level to the next...each of those jumps involves a significant increase in the amount of studying and the amount of visual tasks," he says. "As a result a lot of times you'll see a vision change accordingly."