By Dr. Thomas P. Finley
School will soon be back in session. As you complete your list of “things to do” preparing your child, make certain that “Back-to-School” eye examinations are performed. As parents, we do the best we can to equip our children with all of the tools needed for them to succeed. Being able to see well at all distances for the required amount of time will be one of their most valuable tools. Good vision and proper vision care will help your child read and learn better.
Most of the information a child receives in school is through their sense of vision, however vision problems are surprisingly common in children. One-in-four school aged children have some form of vision problem that may affect their learning. Make certain your child is not one of them.
Warning Signs of Vision Problems
Children can be good students and athletes, but still be victims of poor visual skills. If their eyes do not work properly, it becomes increasingly difficult year after year to maintain the required level and degree of reading and comprehension skills. Parents should be on the lookout and consult their eye doctor if they notice their child:
• Looses their place while reading;
• Dislikes and avoids reading;
• Places their head too close to a book or desk while reading;
• Frequently rubs their eyes or blinks a lot;
• Has frequent headaches;
• Squints or frowns a lot;
• Turns or tilts their head to use one eye only;
• Makes reversals when reading or writing;
• Uses their finger to maintain their place while reading;
• Omits or confuses small words when reading;
• Has a short attention span or daydreams frequently;
• Experiences a drop in scholastic or sports performance;
• Has trouble finishing timed written assignments;
• Performs below potential.
What is 20/20?
20/20 visual acuity is considered “perfect” vision, but simply means you can see a small letter (about 8 mm) at a distance of 20 feet. It’s what’s commonly tested in school screenings. Good vision is much more than that and involves many different vision skills working together enabling your child to see clearly and to understand what he or she sees.
Your eyes must be able to focus clearly and accurately far away, up close, and in between. They must be able to move back and forth, right to left, up and down and vice versa in a smooth fluid manner. Your right eye must be balanced with your left eye so you have good depth perception. And your eyes must have sufficient focusing and converging reserves so they don’t fatigue and tire out too quickly.
A disruption in any of these visual skills can seriously affect a child’s reading and learning ability. Parents must realize that these problems can exist even if their child appears to be seeing well. Parents must also realize that even if they both have good vision, their children may suffer from poor vision and/or visual skills. Most children are not aware they are having any difficulty and assume everyone else sees the same way.
Need for Eye Exams
Just as your child’s physical size changes dramatically year after year, so can their vision. Yearly comprehensive eye examinations are the only way to ensure your child’s eyes and vision are functioning properly and efficiently. And remember, vision screenings are no substitute for a thorough eye examination.
Equally important is choosing an eye doctor who understands children and enjoys working with children; one your child will like and trust. Your care and concern for your child’s vision can enrich their future. A thorough eye examination will help diagnose and correct vision problems and give your child an advantage in learning.
If you have a college age student who wears contact lenses, make certain they have a good back up pair of eyeglasses they can use so they don’t over-wear their contact lenses. Also make certain they have enough replacement contact lenses to get them through the entire school year so they don’t keep wearing dirty, old, and unhealthy lenses. Schedule their eye examinations several weeks before they leave town.
Dr. Finley’s Family Eyecare is located at 709 Pine Street in Herndon, VA 20170.
Please visit"www.drfinley.net":http://www.drfinley.net or call 703-471-7810 for an appointment.
Dr. Finley is currently offering FREE eyeglass frames up to $125 value with the purchase of iZon High Definition Lenses. Must purchase complete pair of eyeglasses. Cannot be combined with any other offer or insurance. Must mention this article. Some other restrictions apply. Expires October 15, 2012.
Dr. Thomas P. Finley received his Bachelor of Science degree from St. Francis University in Pennsylvania, and his Doctorate of Optometry from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Following graduation, he served as an optometry officer in the United States Air Force and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Commendation Medal.
Dr. Finley has served as an adjunct clinical professor for three optometry schools, and has been a clinical investigator for two major contact lens companies. He has published several articles in professional and trade journals and local newspapers and has also lectured at educational conferences.
Dr. Finley is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a Fellow of the Virginia Academy of Optometry, and a member of the American Optometric Association, Virginia Optometric Association, and Northern Virginia Optometric Society. He is an Advisory Board member for TLC Laser Eye Centers.
Locally, Dr. Finley serves as an active member of the Herndon Rotary Club (past president), Chamber of Commerce (past board member), Optimist Club (youth sports’ coach), and Knights of Columbus (past board member). He serves on the board of the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic. He was awarded Herndon’s “Distinguished Service Award,” the Chamber of Commerce’s “Small Business of the Year Award,” and The Times Newspapers “Best Eye Doctor Award.” He has owned his Herndon optometry practice since 1989.