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Eye exam among most important for students in state

By John Michaelson, Public News Service • Dec 17, 2015 at 7:04 PM

NASHVILLE – With the start of the new school year, parents across the state are reminded the eye health of their children is critical to their educational success.

Tonya Reynoldson, president of the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, said this is a great time of year to get students in for eye exams, especially the younger children who may not always speak up.

“Eye health is very important,” she said. “It’s the essential way that kids learn, is through visual.

“Eighty percent that they take in is usually visual and the other is 20 percent, pretty much auditory.”

Signs that a child may have eye or vision problems include headaches, frequent eye rubbing or blinking and the avoidance of reading and other close activities.

Reynoldson also explained just like other health issues, early detection and treatment is key for vision or eye health problems such as amblyopia, more commonly known as lazy eye.

“Especially in the case of kids starting kindergarten,” she said. “One of the most common diagnoses that we run into is a lazy eye.

“So that child doesn’t develop good depth perception, and if that’s not caught early, that could cause some issues down the road.”

The American Optometric Association suggests a child’s first eye exam at around 6 months of age, with another at 3 and then again around kindergarten or first grade.

From there, students should have their eyes checked every other year, or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist.

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