The exam children need before school starts

August 17, 2011 1:53:55 PM PDT
While everyone might be thinking new clothes and notebooks, it is important to not forget your child's eyes. Back to school should also mean back to the eye doctor.

Young children can tell you when something hurts, but they don't always know that their eyesight is weak. It is never a bad idea to have your child's eyesight checked at the start of a new school year.

"It actually changes very rapidly as an adolescent grows, and when you get to puberty it goes very, very differently as well. So, I think it's worthwhile for a child in that teenage, or young teenage years to get checked every year just to make sure that their glasses prescription is adequate," said Dr. Rishi Singh of The Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Singh also says that if your child's classroom seat location changes from one year to the next, it may reveal a problem.

Singh says that a visit to an optometrist or ophthalmologist will tell you if your son or daughter needs glasses or a stronger prescription. The visit might also alert you to a previously undisclosed vision problem.

Preschoolers should also see an ophthalmologist to make sure their eyes are aligned and have the ability to focus properly.

Also, if you have a high school student who is calling for contact lenses, make sure they are ready for the responsibility.

"So, glasses you can put them aside, you can throw them down on the ground, they will bend, or whatever, but you can get a replacement. Unfortunately, if you do the same thing with contact lenses there's a chance you can hurt your eyes. You can cause severe eye infections. If you sleep in your lenses your chance of getting infection is almost 20 times higher," warns Dr. Singh.

If your child plays sports and wears prescription goggles, it's a good idea to have that prescription checked as well.