Another “E” to Remember for Students

School begins soon, and I’ve recently notice the “ABC’s of Going Back to School” printed in some newspapers. Parents always read the list of items a child needs, although not all items listed are school supplies. While reading last week’s list, I noticed an “E” missing. That “E” should have been for eyes–more importantly, eye exams.

We know school supplies are important. By the time a family has purchased clothing, shoes, uniforms, an school supplies, money is definitely getting tight. However, it’s important to include an eye screening, too, before going back to school.

Many parents don’t schedule regular eye appointments for their children. The best exam is a developmental screening that is about an hour long. It has more components to it than just reading an eye chart, and it’s definitely important for the younger child.

As a former teacher, I’ve seen many students with eye issues. If parents read with their child, they may discover some issues, too. In time, parents realize that scheduling an exam really would be beneficial to their child.

While reading with their child, parents might look for the following possible clues of possible eye issues:

Notice if a child skips words when reading.

Watch to see if he has to keep his place with his finger.

Check to see if he is focusing on more than two lines and tryng to read both at the same time.

Watch to see if he’s squinting.

See if he rubs his eyes while reading.

Notice if he complains of a headache after reading.

Check to see if he’s pulling the book closer to him to see the words.

Watch to see if he’s holding the book out as far as he can to read.

When parents discover a child needs an eye exam, hopefully, it’s during the summer or at the beginning of the school year. It would be so much better to discover a visual problem as early as possible; and if it’s in the summer, the child would be able to adjust to his glasses before school starts. Any “beginning of the year” testing would be more accurate, and a child would be happier just able to see more around him.

If it’s discovered that an eye exam is needed after school begins, how much time has lapsed before the discovery? Think of all those wasted days when the child needed to be learning and could have used the glasses to help him with his eye issues.

Glasses can be expensive. However, what is the cost to a child who can’t see as well as his classmates? I think the big “E” for an eye appointment is important in a child’s life. It definitely needs to be on the “ABC’s of Going Back to School” list.

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