to School eye exams are recommended
According to Dr. Jill Lane, Optometrist with clinic hours at the St Mary’s Hospital Cottonwood Clinic, eighty percent of what students learn is through vision, but, nationwide, 86% of school aged children have never had a complete eye exam.
“This could mean that thousands of school-aged children simply can’t see correctly,” said Dr. Lane. “Parents and teachers need to know that with a complete eye examination, we can diagnose and begin treatment of many debilitating vision and eye health issues.”
Students with poor vision can be misdiagnosed as learning impaired, as having attention deficient disorder, or are just plain left behind their peer group. These kids don’t know they can’t see what their friend sees, because they don’t know what normal vision is, continued Dr. Lane.
Conditions such as amblyopia or lazy eye should be diagnosed and treated early. It is the leading cause of blindness if left untreated. It is easily corrected when detected early.
“We encourage parents to have children examined three times prior to starting school: at 6 months, 3 years and before starting kindergarten,” said Dr. Lane. “Monitoring eye development can prevent conditions that may be irreversible in later years.”
Dr Lane also recommends annual eye exams for students throughout elementary, junior and senior high school. “Keep in mind that a vision screening with an eye chart, while a useful tool, is a limited process and cannot be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather to indicate a potential need for further evaluation,” said Dr. Lane. “Children need to have a complete eye examination where vision acuity, eye health and vision skills are measured. They need to have these examinations beginning at an early age. Less than perfect vision can cause a student to fall behind his peers and impair his ability to do schoolwork in the classroom and elsewhere.”
Teachers can help by letting parents know the importance of eye examinations and the link between good vision and successful learning. Comprehensive vision examinations can only be conducted by an eye care professional with the specialized training needed to make a definitive diagnosis and prescribe treatment.
Dr. Lane sees patients at SMH’s Cottonwood Clinic on Wednesdays. Call 962-3267 to schedule an appointment before school starts. “I’d be happy to first examine the student then also do vision testing on mom or dad. We can make it a fun experience for both.” She recommends yearly exams for students and a vision check and eye exam every one to two years for adults.