Vision Care For Kids: When To and When Not To
Vision care for kids should begin routine vision screening as soon as they begin school. This is important, primarily to rule out amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye.” If not treated promptly, it can result in permanent vision loss.
Routine vision screenings can usually be performed by your child’s doctor. A vision chart is read aloud by the child using letters or simplified characters. Alternatively, the doctor may employ a device known as a photoscreener. It examines the eyes for risk factors that could impair vision. However, there are some common vision tests and procedures that many children do not require.Here’s what parents should know:
Comprehensive Eye Exams
The majority of children do not require comprehensive eye exams every year. If your child fails routine vision screening, he or she may require a comprehensive eye exam. The exams are not dangerous. However, most children do not require them. An eye specialist, such as an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, performs a comprehensive eye exam. Pediatric ophthalmologists have received additional education and training in order to best treat the specific needs of children with eye disorders.
Annual comprehensive exams may be required of your child. They can cost between $100 and $200. The cost of routine vision screening is less than $20.Children who do not have vision problems do not need to have these annual eye exams.
Comprehensive eye exams should be performed on children if:
- They fail a routine vision test.
- They’ve been told they have a vision problem.
- They have a history of vision or eye problems in their family.
A routine vision screening will fail about 15 children out of every 100, but a comprehensive eye exam will pass. These kids simply had difficulty following directions or keeping their eyes still for the first test.
When children fail vision screenings, doctors may prescribe unnecessary low-level reading glasses. These glasses are similar to those found in a drugstore. They do not assist the majority of children. Without glasses, most children can change the focus of their eyes. Children, on the other hand, may require glasses if they have eye crossing that needs to be relaxed or if one eye requires a stronger prescription than the other.
Reading glasses are used by people who are farsighted. These individuals can see things from afar but not up close. Prescription glasses can range in price from $100 to $500. The cost is determined by the frames, lenses, and your insurance coverage.
If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms, he or she may require reading glasses:
- Squinting, crossing of the eyes, or rubbing of the eyes on a regular basis.
- Complaints about not wanting to read because your eyes tire or you see double.
- Reading and schoolwork difficulties
If you notice any of these issues, have your child’s doctor perform a vision screening. If necessary, the doctor will refer your child for a thorough examination.
Retinal Imaging Testing
The retina, the part of the eye that sees light, is photographed or imaged during these tests. These tests are unnecessary for the vast majority of children. They also don’t require a “baseline” test to compare to future tests. These tests can cost up to $50.
These tests may be beneficial if a child:
- Has had a retinal or optic nerve problem diagnosed.
- Has diabetes, which can cause retinal damage.
- Has poor vision that does not improve with prescription glasses.
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