Vision is one of our most important senses and keeping it in good shape enables both children and adults to communicate, work, play, learn, and enjoy a high quality of life. Impaired vision affects one’s self-esteem and ability to interact with others, to work, or to perform daily activities independently.
A vision screening consists of reading letters on an eye chart and testing the clarity and sharpness of one’s vision. These screenings are a tool of preventive care that helps patients maintain good eye health and can address any problems that need to be treated before they become serious.
Who needs to be screened?
Everyone—both children and adults—should have vision screenings every two years. These screenings are painless and can be done as part of a routine wellness exam with your primary care provider. Regular vision screenings are essential for children and adults to identify issues when they’re treatable, or if a more serious issue is detected, to get a referral to a specialist.
While vision screenings are recommended every two years for the general population, higher-risk individuals should get screened annually. This includes patients who:
- have a family history of eye disease
- are over the age of 65
- have high blood pressure
- have type 2 diabetes
- have a history of previous eye surgeries
- wear contact lenses
- are first responders
- have strenuous jobs such as surgeons, truck drivers, pilots, and construction workers
Vision Issues Contribute to Poor Academic Performance
Approximately 25% of U.S. children have an undiagnosed vision problem, which may contribute to behavioral issues or poor classroom performance. The ability to catch vision issues early in kids is important to prevent developmental complications and help them succeed as they enter and progress through school.
Eleven million Americans over the age of 12 are estimated to need some level of vision correction, and many folks may not even realize they’re experiencing vision problems when they occur. Common symptoms to look for include blurry vision, double vision, halos around lights, a draining/redness of the eye, headaches, or trouble concentrating.
What to Look Out for Vision Abnormalities
A person’s age is a factor when knowing what vision irregularities to watch for. Here are some signs of vision abnormalities that may require medical attention:
- For infants: Look for misaligned eyes or the baby’s inability to make eye contact.
- For children and teenagers: Monitor headaches, fatigue, the avoidance of reading, and any issues that arise connected to completing schoolwork or seeing the board in class.
- For adults: Take action if you notice yourself squinting, blinking more than usual, getting droopy eyelids, having headaches, or discovering an excess of tears in your eyes regularly.
- For adults who wear glasses and/or contacts: Watch for sudden vision loss, eye pain, flashes of light, and tunnel vision.
What Happens During a Vision Screening
Typically performed by one’s primary care provider, a vision screening is a simple test that can detect eyesight issues early. The screening consists of reading letters on an eye chart and testing visual acuity.
This allows the provider to identify patients at risk of eye disease, and support their health by ruling out serious conditions, educating them on proper eye care, or referring them to an eye doctor for additional tests and a formal diagnosis as needed. Vision tests can detect lazy eyes or crossed eyes in kids, and nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism in children and adults.
If no issues are detected, the patient can return for their next vision screening in two years.
To prepare for a vision screening, it’s helpful to list any prescription medications you’re taking and note any vision problems or symptoms you or your child are experiencing.
Schedule a Vision Screening Today
Our Primary Care providers are here to help and can provide routine vision screenings for patients of all ages. Whether you are experiencing eyesight issues or are simply due for a regular vision screening, WWMG has primary care providers at seven primary care locations who can administer vision screenings to both children and adults as part of a routine wellness exam. Visit this page to request an appointment. We look forward to serving you!