School-Aged Children

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Children should have a comprehensive eye examination before starting school so an eye doctor can determine if a child’s vision system is prepared for reading, writing and other close work. The demands of schoolwork can put stress on a child’s visual system; resulting in the development of eye problems the child may not have had before.  While toddlers use their eyes mostly for looking at a distance, school requires children's eyes to focus on close, small work for hours every day. Children often don’t realize the strain their eyes are under, making it difficult to recognize and seek help for vision concerns.  Because their vision is "normal" to them, they think everyone sees the way they do. 

The Snellen Eye Chart, used for most school vision screenings, checks a child’s sharpness of vision.  However, reading requires other visual skills not tested by the eye chart.  To tell if a child’s eyes are healthy, if he or she can track a line of print without losing his or her place, focus his or her eyes comfortably, and/or use both eyes together for long periods of time, a complete eye examination by an eye doctor is strongly encouraged.