New Report Highlights Importance of Back to School Eye Exams

By: Kim Eiten Email
By: Kim Eiten Email

A new report said back to school should mean back to the doctor, but this extends beyond the typical school physical.

That report, from the Nebraska Optometric Association, said more than half of children labeled as problem learners may actually be misdiagnosed.

"Many times if children hold what they have in their hands close to their eyes, or their eyes are really close to their desk then we may start detecting that there may be a vision issue," West Lawn Elementary Principal Jane Gloor said.

The report said one in five children enters kindergarten with undetected vision problems.

"School is hard enough and learning is hard enough without a hurdle to overcome like vision problems," Family Eyecare Center Optometrist Chad Hudnall said.

"It could mean that maybe some letters are backwards, upside down, sideways. Or, they can't see what the teacher is modeling at the board or on the overhead," Gloor said.

That's why Dr. Hudnall said kids should be getting yearly eye exams, something that's easy to miss.

"You just get so busy with back to school things and life," Hudnall said. "So, we do see where parents say 'oh gosh, I didn't realize it's been a few years since they've been in.'"

But, forgetting could lead to bigger problems.

Dr. Hudnall says sometimes something as simple as a vision problem could be misdiagnosed as something more serious like a learning disability.

"Kids that have problems with reading and may have even been diagnosed as a problem learner," he said. "Sometimes things like ADD can be misdiagnosed as simply the child may have a vision problem and has a hard time reading and doing school work."

Getting that right, and maybe some glasses, could make all the difference Gloor said.

"A child can just put the glasses on and notice that the colors are so vivid," she said. "That can correct writing. It can make things so they do pay attention more because they're not so frustrated."

That's something Hudnall said can put an immediate smile on a child's face.

"It's pretty rewarding when the parent and child come back for a follow up maybe the next year and say that made a huge difference for them in their life," he said.

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