Back to school preparations can be stressful for a parent; after all, there’s not only new clothing and school supplies to purchase, parents also have to figure out their grocery budgets for school lunches, childcare, and of course all the fees and sign-ups that come home in children’s backpacks very soon. We sometimes forget that the back to school stress impacts our children as well, with anxiety levels starting to rise while they’re still enjoying the sunshine on the beach during summer vacation.
Summer vacation is when I ideally like to get all those annual appointments complete – after all we have less of a schedule and more availability to get to the appointments, though it’s prudent to remember that while we the parent are in the waiting room, the appointment itself can sometimes be stressful for a child. That’s why it’s important to find a doctor or specialist that works well with children, who can calm concerns and truly listen to your child, rather than simply run them through the exam needed.
Did you know that 1 in 4 kids has an undiagnosed vision problem? When 80% of a child’s learning is through their eyes, it’s important to schedule an eye exam* ahead of a new school year, especially if your child hasn’t had one in a while (something that I think happens when your child aced the last one…it’s been a few years because you didn’t think they needed another look anytime soon – whoops!)
My children all had great eye exams before we moved to Regina and then a year, and then two, went by before we had another exam for that exact reason. Then, upon my middle child Nevaeh complaining about headaches more frequently, we realized it was time for everyone to get an eye exam. Her older and younger brother were again in no need of glasses, but last year Nevaeh’s farsightedness resulted in her needing glasses for reading, school-work and yes, iPad time and it’s made a world of difference for her.
Ahead of a new school year starting, we thought it would be great for Nevaeh to get some new frames, and a quick eye exam to ensure everything was going well with her current prescription. During our visit to Pearle Vision, each step of the eye exam – from the initial photos, to the exam itself – was explained to her so that there were no uneasy moments where she wondered, “what’s next” during the process.
Dr. Ma first introduced himself to Nevaeh and asked how things were going so far with her glasses. Often times children look to the parent to answer questions during an exam, but I gently nodded to prod her to explain things herself to Dr. Ma which she did. I appreciated that Dr. Ma asked questions directly to Nevaeh – at nine years old – rather than turning to the parent and ignoring the child. This made Nevaeh feel important, as she should be, since after all she was the patient!
After the exam, Dr. Ma then referenced the photos that were taken earlier and explained what he was seeing in them. He showed her what the bright spots meant, and where the veins and vessels in her eyes were. Nevaeh, being a nine-year-old girl, was both intrigued and grossed out by this, which we all chuckled about. Before we left the exam room, Dr. Ma asked us both if there were any questions at all that we had thought of before leaving, and we were both satisfied that everything we wondered about had been answered. He again congratulated Nevaeh on being so good about wearing her current prescription and reminded her how great that is for her eye health. She left feeling like a rock star for having a great exam and being a good patient in wearing her glasses, as she should.
Next, we picked out some new frames for my soon-to-be fourth grade student! She found these black frames, which made her beam ear-to-ear when trying them on and declare that she looked “just like a teenager” in them. AND, we found a super-cool pair of blue and green frames too. I told her that it takes a pretty spunky kid to pull out a pair of glasses in that colour, and that’s why they’re perfect for my girl!
Don’t put off your children’s eye-exam, especially before a new school year. Arrange your child’s eye exam today! Vision is so important in school, from being able to see the blackboard, to working on the computer, coloring, playing at recess, sports, music class, and doing homework – having good vision is key! Of course, looking their best in a spectacular new pair of frames from Pearle Vision doesn’t hurt either. 😉
*eye exams arranged