This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
As a parent whose child is about to begin kindergarten I know we parents think a lot about preparation… Is he ready? What do we need to do before school to help him prepare? How will he do all day without me? Will he eat his lunch? Will I remember to pack his lunch? Ok, that’s more of a worry about me… but you get the idea- as parents of kids starting school we have a lot on our minds.
One thing that often gets overlooked in the back to school checklists and the preparations is the importance of taking your child to the doctor for an eye exam. About 80% of parents think it is important for kids to go to the doctor and dentist annually but only about 40% of parents think it’s important to take their children to the eye doctor. It’s Eye Exam Awareness Month and before school starts is an excellent time to have an eye exam for your child.
Our son had his first eye doctor appointment at 6 months old. It looked to us and to his pediatrician like his eyes might not be aligning properly, a condition called strabismus. A friend of ours has a son who had strabismus and they had to go through a long journey of patching and glasses to help treat it.
So we went to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. They put his eyes through a whole bunch of tests, diluted them, and examined them thoroughly. One of the things that I remember the most was holding him after they had put the dilation solution into his eyes. We had to wait in a dark room for his eyes to dilate and he didn’t love it. I don’t remember everything they did but in the end it was all worth it.
Thankfully it was just pseudostrabismus, where they eyes only appear to be misaligned due to physical features of the shape, typically when a child is very young and their nose bridge is still rather broad and flat. My son grew and he no longer looked like his eyes were misaligned. His vision is good and his eyes function properly. We continue to go for routine exams just to be sure there are no other problems with his vision as he grows.
To some this might seem a little excessive or unnecessary but our eyes are so important and according to experts 5-10% of preschoolers and 25% of school-aged kids have eye problems. Identifying a problem earlier rather than later is important because when left untreated there are some eye problems that can cause permanent vision loss.
And unfortunately you cannot rely on your child to tell you that they have a vision problem. Children do not usually have an understanding of what normal vision is and so they may not be able to tell you when something is wrong.
Healthy eyes are especially to a child beginning school. Roughly 80% of what children learn comes in through their eyes. I feel good knowing that going into school we know that my son will not encounter an extra difficulties from vision problems. As a mom sending her first born off to kindergarten I feel like I have enough to worry about without having to worry about his eyes.
Think About Your Eyes is a national public awareness campaign to bring awareness to the importance of eye health and getting annual eye exams. You can use their handy locator tool to find an eye care professional near you.
To learn more about kid’s vision take a look at this: