Eye exams not required for back to school, but strongly suggested

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU)- Parents are being encouraged to take their children to the eye doctor before heading back to school.

In Wisconsin, schools only strongly recommend that kids see an eye doctor before the year starts, and kids may not even be able to recognize when they have a vision problem if they have never experienced perfect vision.

Going into first grade this year, Anna Riess said that she’s excited for school to start. She and her dad were doing some last minute adjustments to her glasses to make sure she’s ready for her favorite subject, reading.

“We could tell once she got the glasses she could read better and was more focused on her school work” said Anna’s dad, Scott Riess.

Anna has had to have glasses since she was a year old, so she has been seeing the eye doctor quite often. But kids are supposed to see the eye doctor quite frequently said Dr. Ann Wonderling, Optometrist for Family Vision Center.

“The first eye exam is at 6 months, and if everything looks great I see them at 3 years, then kindergarten. At school age I prefer seeing them yearly,” said Dr. Wonderling.

Approximately 80% of a child’s learning is visual up to 12 years old.

Some of the signs that your student may be struggling include; losing place while reading, rubbing eyes, headaches, consistently performing below potential, struggling to complete homework, squinting, behavioral problems, and holding reading material real close.

A child can have 20/20 vision and still have vision problems.

Dr. Wonderling says a harder curriculum that is mostly to blame for an increase in vision problems in her younger patients, along with too many video games. She suggests parents not let their children be ‘on screen’ for more than 30 minutes a day.

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