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Half of U.S. Parents Skip Back-to-School Eye Exams for Their Children, Survey Says

Survey reveals parents’ confusion about when and how often kids should visit the eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.

As much as 80% of learning a child does is visual, with children spending most of the school day reading, looking at a blackboard, and using laptops and tablets. However, come back-to-school season, parents overlook one of the most critical learning tools—their child’s eyes. Half (50.1%) of U.S. parents do not bring their school-age children for a back-to-school eye exam, according to a VSP® Vision Care and YouGov survey, “How Parents ‘See’ Eye Health.”

Although three-in-four respondents (76%) said sight is the most important sense, findings from the survey of 1,000 U.S. parents revealed their attitudes don’t match their actions for themselves and their kids. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), kids should have a first comprehensive vison assessment at six months to ensure the eyes are working together and to detect any vision problems early; followed by a comprehensive eye exam at three-years old, five-years old, and annually throughout the school years. However, one-in-five parents (21%) did not take their kids to the eye doctor for the first time until they were school age (at least five-years old). Additionally, one in 10 (13%) has never taken their child(ren) to the eye doctor.

“It may seem surprising, but kids who can’t read or even speak yet can still have a comprehensive eye exam. The connection between eyes and the brain starts early. As an optometrist and a mom of school-age children myself, I encourage parents to prioritize back-to-school eye exams, the same way you wouldn’t miss a dentist or pediatrician visit,” said Mary Anne Murphy, OD, owner and practitioner of Front Range Eye Associates in Denver and Board member at VSP Global®. “Kids don’t know what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to eye health. When vision problems aren’t identified early, kids will be at a disadvantage before they even start kindergarten.”

Article courtesy of VSP Global 8/2017