Eye Exams and Vision Diagnosis
The American Optometric Association recommends yearly eye exams. The health of your eyes, inside and out, should be carefully evaluated for problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, hypertension, and diabetes – not just for visual acuity. Regular vision exams are also important for the prevention of vision problems aggravated by today's academic and professional demands, and for maximizing visual performance in sports and hobbies.
For children, the American Optometric Association recommends a complete vision exam at the ages of six months, three years and five years, including a complete evaluation the summer before Kindergarten. Then, during school ages, yearly evaluations are recommended to evaluate many important visual skills, including:
- Visual Acuity at Distance and Near
Distance vision is important in school settings to ensure students can see the board and teacher, and other presentation materials used in the classroom. Clear and single vision at close distances is critical to reading, writing and computer use.
- Eye Teaming Skills
Do both eyes aim, move and work as a coordinated team? Weaknesses in binocular (two-eyed) vision and eye teaming skills can cause numerous difficulties, including convergence insufficiency (near vision disorder) and poor depth perception.
- Eye Focusing Skills
Do the eyes maintain clear vision at varying distances? Rapid, automatic eye focus adjustment is critical to learning, reading, writing, sports, and play. Deficiencies can cause visual fatigue, reduced reading comprehension, and avoidance of other activities requiring close work.
- Eye Movement Skills
Do eye movements show adequate muscle control, tracking and fixation? In the classroom, normal eye movements allow rapid and accurate shifting of the eyes along a line of print or from desk to board. In sports, efficient eye movements contribute to eye-hand coordination, visual reaction time, and accurate tracking.
- Reversal Frequency
Past the age of eight, frequent visual and written reversals – including confusion or reversal of letters or words (b, d; p, q; saw, was; etc.) – might indicate a visual perceptual dysfunction.