A few months ago I took my daughter for a routine eye exam and was a little shocked at the price we paid AFTER our insurance was taken into consideration. She didn’t have any issues, I just wanted to make sure her eyes were working properly since my husband and I both wear glasses. While I’m really thankful for insurance and low premiums, I felt that paying the equivalent to a week’s worth of groceries just for an eye exam was a bit pricey.
Then I find out that Cohen’s Optical offers FREE exams for school aged children. I was happy to see that as a company that specializes in eyewear understands the importance of having children’s eyes checked. I feel that more people might take their children for routine eye checks if they knew there was a free service out there from a reputable optometrist. They even have a great deal on frames and lenses if your child needs them!
The following information was provided by Cohen’s Optical about protecting your child’s vision:
As we approach the beginning of another school year, the concern for your child’s eye health should be as important as a visit to your pediatrician; the American Optometric Association (AOA) estimates that up to 80 percent of learning occurs through a child’s eyes.
An eye exam by an Optometrist can help prevent potential vision issues that could impede your child’s progress in school and beyond the classroom in their extracurricular activities.
Your child should receive their first eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months, according to the AOA. Regular eye exams should be scheduled just prior to the beginning of each school year. With the amount of time children spend looking at smart boards, tablets and computers, it is important to make sure that your child is entering the classroom without any vision issues that may prevent them from doing their best in school.
Signs Parents Can Watch For
Parents should be aware of several signs that could serve as indicators to a potential problem with your child’s vision. Schedule a visit to your eye doctor if your child is experiencing one or more of the following:
- Squinting while engaged in reading or watching television
- Losing place when reading
- A tendency to avoid reading altogether and other close-up activities
- Excessive blinking
- Constant eye rubbing
- Sensitivity to light
- Redness and tearing of the eyes
- Tilting the head to one side when viewing something
- Holding reading materials very close to the eyes
What to Expect During an Eye Exam
With a little knowledge beforehand about what is involved, eye exams don’t have to be stressful or scary for either the child or the parent.
A typical eye exam for children will include the following components:
- History: This will cover any presenting complaints as well as an pre-existing conditions, previous injuries or other relevant information.
- Age appropriate visual acuity testing: Using an eye chart, the doctor asks the child to read letters or name pictures. It is important to test each eye separately and to be sure that the child is not “peeking” with the other eye.
- Cover testing: This test detects misalignment of the eyes. While the child focuses on a target, the examiner covers each eye one at a time to look for a “shift” in the eyes.
- Motilities: The child is told to follow a target over a circular path. Tracking problems and head movements are noted.
- Convergence/Divergence: This will test the child’s ability to converge (bringing a target closer towards their nose) and diverge (pulling away).
- Stereopsis: Testing the ability to see a 3-D image with polarized lenses. A fun test that children enjoy to do while revealing important information about their vision.
- Color Vision Testing: This is especially important for boys since 8-10% of males have color vision deficiencies. Less than 1% of females have such deficiencies.
- Retinoscopy: While the child looks at a far target (picture chart) the Optometrist uses a Retinoscope to objectively measure the amount of Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (farsightedness) and Astigmatism (an oval shaped cornea).
- Refraction: Depending on the child’s responses to different lenses the Optometrist can refine any prescription obtained with Retinoscopy.
- Biomicroscopy: With older children a biomicroscope helps to assess the front structures of the eyes as well as internal structures (in combination with a hand held lens).
- Ophthalmoscopy: With younger children a hand held ophthalmoscope provides the Optometrist with a tool to look at the eyes.
- Intraocular Pressures: Glaucoma, a condition characterized by high eye pressure, is rare in children. For the young child the doctor gently presses on their closed eyes to assess the pressure. With older children a machine measures the pressure by applying a gentle puff of air.
- Recommendations: Once all the information is gathered, the doctor will recommend the appropriate course of action.
Eye Protection for Athletes and the Outdoors
Sports injuries resulted in 20% of the emergency room visits for kids aged 5 to 9 and 41% of visits for children aged 10 to 14, according to a recent study. With so many children participating in sports today, parents should be aware of how to protect their child’s vision during these activities.
Thankfully, protective eyewear can prevent 90% of eye injuries. Children’s sports glasses, which are traditionally made from impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses, feature a goggle shape in plastic or polycarbonate with padding to absorb impact.
In addition to the danger of the eyes being impacted by equipment or debris, parents must remember to protect their child’s eyes from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Sunglasses should be worn whenever spending any significant time outdoors. And sports glasses can actually be equipped with transitional lenses that adjust to become sunglasses when the wearer is outdoors.
For parents, being aware of potential warning signs and scheduling children for regular eye exams before there is a problem will help ensure healthy eyesight throughout childhood.
ABOUT COHEN¹S FASHION OPTICAL:
Over eighty years ago, our founder, Jack Cohen, pioneered a new philosophy in the retail eyewear business. His vision was everyone who needed prescription eyeglasses wanted to look better, see better, and feel better about themselves.
In 1927, Cohen’s became the only fashion eyewear retail location to be found in New York. Cohen’s Fashion Optical quickly became a New York City retail landmark. Today, with over 130 franchise stores in the US and Puerto Rico, Cohen’s is one of the top ten optical retailers in the country and one of the longest operating optical franchise companies in the country.
Cohen’s Fashion Optical is offering free eye exams to kids ages 5 to 16 at participating locations throughout NY and Long Island. The Cohen’s Cares for Kids program runs Monday through Friday during the month of September. For participating stores please visit: http://www.cohensfashionoptical.com/cohens-cares-for-kids.