As the new school year approaches, parents are ensuring their children are prepared with an annual physical, immunizations and back-to-school shopping. But an annual eye exam should also be part of a student's back-to-school routine, says the American Optometric Association's (AOA).
From ages 6 to 18, a child's vision can change frequently or unexpectedly, which can lead to behavioral and attention issues in school. The AOA is, therefore, encouraging parents to make comprehensive eye exams a priority.
Pediatric eye exams, the AOA points out, are most likely covered by most health insurance plans, including those sold in health insurance marketplaces. In fact, 54% of people were unaware that the Affordable Care Act now defines a comprehensive eye exam as an essential benefit and covers this expense, including glasses for children, annually according to the AOA's 2015 American Eye-Q survey.
The AOA also offers the following tips:
"One in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem because changes in their eyesight go unrecognized by both the child and their parents or guardian," said Andrea Thau, OD, president of the AOA. "Making a comprehensive eye examination a priority this year is one of the single most important investments you can make in your child's education and overall health. While schools typically offer basic vision screenings, these often create a false sense of security by missing significant problems. A comprehensive eye exam is the only way to properly diagnose and treat vision and eye health issues."