Heading back to school after summer break means it’s time to adjust those eyes to looking at the whiteboard and school books again. Hopefully, kids get an “eye break” over the summer while they play outside, go on adventures and practice reading for enjoyment rather than studying is a great way to help them exercise their eye muscles.

But now that school is starting again, it’s the perfect time to head to your family eye doctor to ensure their eyes are in good health and that nothing has changed over the summer. Starting kids off on the right foot when it comes to their eye health is the best way to help them succeed at school, and in life!

Fall is an excellent time for an eye check up

There are many reasons to schedule an eye exam in the fall. While you can schedule a check up for any time of the year, back to school season is a good option for many families.

Reasons to schedule a fall eye exam:

  • Start school on with clear vision
  • Start the school year with a new style if glasses are needed
  • Won’t risk falling behind if they can’t see the board
  • Diagnose any possible issues early
  • Stay ahead of their eye health
  • Create a new yearly routine
  • Get it out of the way, so you don’t have to schedule it during the busy school year

Healthy vision is correlated to success in the classroom and beyond

Vision issues aren’t isolated problems but instead affect almost every aspect of a child’s development, ranging from academics and athletics to social interactions and self-esteem. But without a comprehensive eye exam from an optometrist, many vision disorders may go undetected or, worse yet, may be misdiagnosed as ADHD, dyslexia, a learning disability, or a behavioral problem. These labels can then be carried into adulthood, further affecting an individual’s level of education, employment opportunities, and social interactions—without ever addressing the real underlying issue.

Vision skills needed for school

Vision is more than just the ability to see clearly or having 20/20 eyesight. It is also the ability to understand and respond to what is seen. There are many basic visual skills beyond seeing clearly that are important to supporting academic success.

The school year only gets busier

Walking into a new school year off with a clean bill of eye health, or a new pair of glasses if they’re needed, is the best way to start of the school year on the right foot! It can be tempting to wait to schedule a check up until the back to school busy-ness has calmed down, but once school sports, activities and homework get underway it can be even harder yo find the time to make it to an appointment. If you build an eye exam into your yearly back to school routine, it will be such a relief to know it’s taken care of already!

Vision issues can be hard to catch without an exam

Eyesight issues generally present gradually, so it can be hard for kids to realize that they have any problems seeing. Especially when starting back at school after a summer away, it can seem normal that the words on the board are a bit blurry.

Gradual changes in vision happen so slowly that a child often doesn’t know to point out a problem, until it’s already started to affect their life, if even then!

Teachers often don’t notice

With 20 or more students looking back at her every day, it can be hard for a teacher to notice a single student struggling with their vision. Unfortunately, even when working one on one with a student it can be hard to a teacher or aide to notice vision issues in a student, because troubles with eyesight can appear in many different ways. While one student might have trouble seeing the board, another might have difficulty reading from a book right in front of him.

The best way to diagnose any potential eye concerns is with a regular exam, before you even notice any problems.

Vision skills needed for school

Vision is more than just the ability to see clearly or having 20/20 eyesight. It is also the ability to understand and respond to what is seen. There are many basic visual skills beyond seeing clearly that are important to supporting academic success.

Every child needs to have the following vision skills for effective reading and learning:

  • Visual acuity—the ability to see clearly in the distance for viewing the chalkboard, at an intermediate distance for the computer and up close for reading a book.
  • Eye focusing—the ability to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision as the distance from objects change, such as when looking from the chalkboard to a paper on the desk and back. Eye focusing allows the child to easily maintain clear vision over time such as when reading a book or writing a report.
  • Eye tracking—the ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another, moving the eyes along a printed page or following a moving object like a thrown ball.
  • Eye teaming—the ability to coordinate and use both eyes together when moving the eyes along a printed page, and to be able to judge distances and see depth for classwork and sports.
  • Eye-hand coordination—the ability to use visual information to monitor and direct the hands when drawing a picture or trying to hit a ball.
  • Visual perception—the ability to organize images on a printed page into letters, words and ideas and to understand and remember what is read.


Other visual perceptual skills include:

  • Recognition—the ability to tell the difference between letters such as "b" and "d".
  • Comprehension—"picture" in the child's mind of what is happening in a story he/she is reading.
  • Retention—remember and recall details of what was read.

If any of these visual skills are lacking or not functioning properly, a child will have to work harder to learn as effectively. A child may not tell you that they have a vision problem because they may think the way they see is the way everyone sees. Children will typically attempt to do the work but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency. Students who struggle with a learning-related vision problem may experience headaches, eyestrain and fatigue. Parents and teachers need to be alert for symptoms that may indicate a child has a vision problem.

Signs of eye and vision problems

  • Complaints of discomfort and fatigue.
  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking.
  • Short attention span.
  • Avoiding reading and other close activities.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Covering one eye.
  • Tilting the head to one side.
  • Holding reading materials close to the face.
  • An eye turning in or out.
  • Seeing double.
  • Losing place when reading.
  • Difficulty remembering what they read.

Why back-to-school eye exams are crucial

Because vision may change frequently during the school years, children should receive an eye examination every year, or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist, or if recommended by an optometrist. Unfortunately, parents and educators often incorrectly assume that if a child passes a school screening, there is no vision problem. The most common vision problem in school-age children is blurry vision or refractive error caused by nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism resulting in blurry vision. However, a child who can see clearly and has 20/20 vision can still have a vision problem relating to eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination. In reality, the vision skills needed for successful reading and learning are much more complex.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to ensure your child’s healthy vision and overall eye health for the whole family: Schedule an in-person, comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist as part of your annual back-to-school routine.


  1. BACK TO SCHOOL VISION TESTS – A MUST FOR STUDENTS Author: Envision Eye Care | Aug 10, 2020 |
  2. Why a comprehensive eye exam should be first on your back-to-school checklist JULY 16, 2021

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Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, all eyewear services are currently by appointment only. Please call to make an appointment.

At Golden Eye Optometry, we view good vision care as front line protection at every age. A routine eye exam can detect more than poor vision. It can shed early light on glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes.

Posted in Prevention.

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