Thursday, September 20, 2018

Eye Care Misconceptions and the Importance of Comprehensive Eye Exams

Parents are inundated with a long list of priorities at the start of the school year. But one thing that should not go overlooked is the need to schedule comprehensive eye exams for children at the appropriate times, which is driven not only by back-to-school seasonality, but by a child’s age.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that a child’s first comprehensive eye exam should occur between 6 months and 12 months, again at age 3 and before entering school at age 5 or 6. Yet, more than one-third of Americans incorrectly believe children should receive a first comprehensive eye exam at age five or later according to a UnitedHealthcare survey.

To help raise awareness around the importance of eye health and to expand access to eye care, UnitedHealthcare recently held an event at the Newark Boys & Girls Club. Optometrists from Eye Care 4 Kids New Jersey conducted comprehensive eye exams and any child identified with the need for prescription eyeglasses will receive a free pair during a follow-up visit.

The event was part of a grant program from UnitedHealthcare to nonprofits in cities across the country to coordinate free vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams and glasses donations. Eye Care 4 Kids New Jersey received a $5,000 grant as part of the initiative.

It’s important to remember that a school’s vision screening is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam. Vision screenings at school usually focus on measuring acuity levels and can miss common conditions such as poor eye alignment, focusing problems and farsightedness. 

As we head into fall, make sure to schedule an appointment for your child to receive a comprehensive eye exam if you haven’t already.