Beyond Basic Screening: Four Reasons Your Child Needs an Exam With an Optometrist

Many schools offer vision screening, and you can also do these basic tests at home. A basic screening just refers to the traditional test where you stand in front of a chart and read the letters on it. This test can be a useful way to note any issues with long range vision.

However, you shouldn't rely on this type of screening to diagnosis all visual issues with your child. Rather, you should take your child to the optometrist. Here's why.

1. Optometrists Also Have Symbol Charts

For many kids, reading the letters on an eye chart is easy, but for children who have dyslexia or for young children who don't know the letters yet, these charts can be confusing. If the child doesn't know the letters, they may produce the wrong results with the screening. Luckily, most optometrists have charts full of symbols to make testing easier for all patients.

2. Eye Exams Test Peripheral Vision

A basic screening with a chart of letters only tests children for issues with farsightedness. It doesn't check any other issues with your child's vision. In contrast, an appointment with an optometrist can check your child's peripheral vision and their ability to see close up. An optometrist can also give your child a test for color blindness.

In addition, these exams can test how the eyes work on their own and how they work together. In most cases, a simple screening isn't able to test the binocularity of your eyes.

3. Eye Exams Test for More Than Visual Issues

Your eyes are extremely important, but in some cases, vision may be perfect and the eye may have other issues. An exam with an optometrist can ensure that your child doesn't have the early symptoms of any eye diseases.

In particular, the optometrist will check the pressure of your child's eye to make sure he or she doesn't have any signs of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, and although it doesn't usually start until adulthood, it's important to look for the warning symptoms.

4. A Professional Does the Testing

A screening at home or school is usually done by a parent, a teacher or another individual who does not have extensive training. Although well intentioned, these people may miss details. In contrast, when you go to an optomotrist's office, you get a well trained professional to look at your child's eyes.