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  • Writer's pictureEsna van der Walt

Add an eye exam to your back-to-school checklist!

As the summer holidays draw to an end, parents take out their back-to-school checklists to ensure that their children have everything they need to achieve success in their new school year. However, there’s one often overlooked item that is important for success in the classroom and beyond– having your children undergo an annual eye exam.


When you add an eye exam to your back-to-school checklist, you will ensure that your child’s visual development is on track, and your optometrist can identify and treat any underlying conditions that may affect their learning in the year ahead.


Why take your child for an annual eye exam?


Research shows that up to 80% of classroom learning relies on a child's vision. As children progress through school, their vision changes frequently. They also face increasing demands on their visual abilities, such as smaller print for reading, as well as spending more time reading and doing homework.


Poor vision and visual skills could affect your child’s ability to learn both in the classroom and outside – from reading and writing to focusing on their work, playing sports and in their relationships with their peers.


Many children may not realise that they have a vision problem, because they think everyone else sees the world the way they do, or they might struggle to convey their problem clearly. An annual eye exam is the best way to detect and treat eye and vision problems early.


What visual skills will be tested during a child’s eye exam?


Vision is about more than just seeing clearly. Children need these 9 basic visual skills to be able to learn and function optimally:

1.      Visual acuity: seeing both far and near objects clearly.

2.      Eye tracking: keeping eyes on target when moving them from one object to another, e.g. following words on a page or a moving object like a thrown ball.

3.      Eye focusing: quickly maintaining clear vision when changing between near and far objects.

4.      Eye-hand coordination: using visual information to monitor and direct hands when drawing or throwing a ball.

5.      Eye teaming: coordinating and using both eyes together when reading, and to judge distances and see depth.

6.      Visual perception: organising images on a printed page into letters, words and ideas and understand what is read.

7.      Recognition: telling the difference between letters.

8.      Retention: remembering and retelling what was read.

9.      Comprehension: creating a picture in their mind of the people and events in a story.


Look out for these signs of vision problems


Apart from adding an eye exam to your back-to-school checklist, the American Optometric Association recommends that parents be on the lookout for these common signs of eye or vision problems in their children:

·        Discomfort or fatigue

·        Rubbing eyes or blinking frequently

·        Tilting their head

·        Complaining of frequent headaches

·        Complaining of seeing double

·        Short attention span

·        Avoiding reading

·        Covering one eye when reading

·        Holding books close to their face

·        Losing their place when reading

·        Not remembering what they read.


Get frames that fit


Should an optometrist prescribe glasses for your child, you would want to get a frame that fits perfectly and lenses that give them 20/20 vision. However, finding kids' frames that look great and fit perfectly is quite a challenge in South Africa.


Tomlinson Optometrists now stocks a wide variety of designer imported kids' frames from Look, that will give your little one the vision and confidence they deserve. Check out some of Look's frames here:




Healthy vision affects your child’s ability to achieve success in the classroom and beyond. Add an eye exam to your back-to-school checklist to ensure that any eye problems or vision impairments can be detected and treated as soon as possible.



Book an appointment with us


Start the year off right, by booking a back-to-school eye exam for your child at Tomlinson Optometrists.


Get in touch with us on WhatsApp:

Book an appointment online:

Phone 021 797 7291, email or visit us at 278B Main Road, Kenilworth.



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