Back 2 School: Everything you need to know about eye exams, when to get them

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - Optometrists say now is the perfect time of year to test your child's vision. Eye strain can lead to headaches, poor grades and can even look like behavior problems, so it's best to know if your child needs glasses before they head back to school.

WHAT VISION IS LIKE AT EACH AGE?

After age 4, 20/40 vision or worse is considered abnormal and then you need to see a specialist.

Dr. Shawn Kavoussi from Berkeley Eye Center said kids older than 5 should have at least 20/30 vision. 

However, no matter the child's reading level, doctors can detect the sharpness of their vision.

"At age 3, before the child is reading, you can use graded symbols to gauge how small they can look at a certain object," Kavoussi said.

WHEN WILL MY CHILD GET CHECKED?

A vision test should be done annually at your pediatrician's office. 

Kavoussi said this is important to detect irregularities that can be caught early, such as a lazy eye, and corrected before the child is fully grown and it's permanent.

Your child's school may also test their vision and you can look for problems on your own.

"There are number of home vision screening apps for the phone now that you can download," Kavoussi said. "Parents can download these kinds of applications and they can do their own home screening and they can cover one eye and leave the other eye exposed and then switch it back and forth between the two eyes and just try and get a rough comparison to make sure their child seems to be doing okay."

SIGNS TO TELL IF YOUR CHILD IS STRUGGLING:

Getting too close to screens or books
Constantly squinting or blinking
Have excessive tearing
Tilt their head
Complain of headaches or light sensitivity.

The one thing your doctor will wait for you to bring up is if your child can't see color. Color blindness is more prevalent in boys but is mostly caught by parents and teachers who notice when children have trouble identifying colors.

DID YOU KNOW THAT A PHOTOGRAPH COULD PROVIDE VALUABLE AND POTENTIALLY LIFE-SAVING INFORMATION ABOUT THE HEALTH OF A CHILD'S EYES?

You could detect cataracts, even cancer by looking at that red-eye reflex in their picture. 

Turn off the red reduction in your photo and look for some of the signs listed on AAO.org.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an "abnormal red reflex" is a white, yellow or black reflection in one or both eyes. This can be a warning sign for the presence of an eye condition, which can be diagnosed by a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Copyright 2019 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.