Reasons Pre-School Kids Must Undergo Annual Vision Screening

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 22, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Preschool children do not get appropriate vision screening
  • Screening could help detect vision problems requiring glasses
  • Amblyopia and strabismus are two of such refractive errors
  • Parents need to be alert for the presence of vision problems

Every experience a preschooler has is an opportunity for growth and development. They use their vision to guide other learning experiences. From ages 2 to 5, a child will be fine-tuning the visual abilities gained during infancy and developing new ones.

Stacking building blocks, rolling a ball back and forth, colouring, drawing, cutting, or assembling lock-together toys all help improve important visual skills. Preschoolers depend on their vision to learn tasks that will prepare them for school. They are developing the visually-guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and visual perceptual abilities necessary to learn to read and write.

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According to recommendations by National Center for Children’s Vision Health, the US, children between age 36 and 72 months -should get their vision screened every year. The recommendation comes after the revelation that many children with early eye problems do not get appropriate screening to identify for correcting a refractive error (vision problems requiring glasses), amblyopia (‘lazy eye’) and strabismus (a disorder of eye alignment).

A Head Start for School with Proper Vision

Steps taken at this age to help ensure vision is developing normally can provide a child with a good "head start" for school.

Preschoolers are eager to draw and look at pictures. Also, reading to young children is important to help them develop strong visualization skills as they "picture" the story in their minds.

This is also the time when parents need to be alert for the presence of vision problems like crossed eyes or lazy eye. These conditions often develop at this age. Crossed eyes or strabismus involves one or both eyes turning inward or outward. Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is a lack of clear vision in one eye, which can't be fully corrected with eyeglasses. Lazy eye often develops as a result of crossed eyes, but may occur without noticeable signs.

In addition, parents should watch their child for indication of any delays in development, which may signal the presence of a vision problem. Difficulty with recognition of colours, shapes, letters and numbers can occur if there is a vision problem.

The preschool years are a time for developing the visual abilities that a child will need in school and throughout his or her life. Steps taken during these years to help ensure the vision is developing normally can provide a child with a good "head start" for school.

Passing a vision screening can give parents a false sense of security. Many preschool vision screenings only assess one or two areas of vision. They may not evaluate how well the child can focus his or her eyes or how well the eyes work together. Generally, colour vision, which is important to the use of colour-coded learning materials, is not tested. By age 3, your child should have a thorough optometric eye examination to make sure his or her vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease.

Image Source: Getty

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