That’s because schools almost always perform annual vision screenings for students, says Millicent Peterseim, M.D., a pediatric ophthalmologist at the Storm Eye Institute in Charleston, South Carolina and board member of the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. “Generally, if a child is doing OK in school and his school vision screening is good, he doesn’t need a full eye exam,” Peterseim says.
If your child has trouble passing the school vision screening, he’ll be referred to an ophthalmologist for a full eye exam—if he passes, he’s in the clear until next year. Still, it’s important to keep an eye out for indications of a vision problem in between screenings, since uncorrected vision can lead to headaches and trouble in school. “Kids need to be able to see well with both eyes,” Peterseim says. “If they can’t, they won’t be able to do their work and could risk falling behind.” If your child exhibits the following signs, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor, who can correct his vision with glasses or contacts.
- Closing one eye at a time
- Frequent headaches
- Sudden struggling in school