Kids take a lot of tests during their years at school, but they take one of the most important exams before they ever step foot in a school – their kindergarten vision exam. In fact, Illinois law requires that children entering kindergarten and kids enrolling in public, parochial, or private school for the first time undergo a comprehensive eye exam. The purpose of kindergarten eye exams is to give every child the best advantage possible when it comes to learning. Back to School Eye Exams ensure that a child’s vision has not changed over the years.
Approximately 80 percent of what a child learns in school comes in the form of a visual presentation, such as reading a book, looking at a whiteboard, using a computer, or watching a presentation. Being unable to see well puts a child at risk for missing information or even falling behind. Children’s vision, then, is essential to helping kids do their best in school.
Furthermore, young children are fine-tuning their vision by practicing their hand-eye coordination, and learning their shapes and colors. Good vision helps kids develop these skills fully, both in the classroom and on the athletic field. Being able to see well enough to discern facial expressions, play sports, and do well academically also help improve a child’s social skills.
Certain common childhood vision problems can prevent a child from developing good visual skills, and can interfere with a child’s ability to absorb visual information. The most common problems in kindergarten age children include:
- Nearsightedness (myopia) – a condition in which the child can see nearby objects clearly but not faraway ones
- Farsightedness (hyperopia) – the child can see faraway objects clearly but not nearby ones
- Astigmatism – the eye does not focus light properly, which results in blurry vision
- Lazy eye (amblyopia) – poor vision in just one eye
- Crossed eyes (strabismus) – a condition in which the eyes don’t look in the same direction at the same time
Left undetected and untreated, these conditions can cause a child to fall behind. In some cases, undetected and untreated conditions can cause long lasting blurry or double vision. Fortunately, many vision problems are easy to diagnose during the kindergarten exam. Early diagnosis can lead to early treatment, which helps children reach their full potential, from their first day of school until their last.