Of course, your child's vision is important. Are you able to tell how well they are seeing? If a child has never seen clearly, then they won't know to say anything. Without the best vision, your child goes through the school year handicapped because they can't see the board, and begin to fall behind in their lessons.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 children need glasses; however, many parents don't take their children to the eye doctor until the school finds a problem, and sometimes that doesn't happen until the end of the school year.
Be a proactive parent, start out your child's school year with an exam so you know they are seeing the best that they can!
Also, Dr. Atkins never prescribes glasses if he feels your child doesn't need them. Dr. Atkins is able to tell what your child needs without your child even saying a word, so don't worry about your child giving wrong answers and ending up with glasses they don't need or not be prescribed glasses if they are needed!
VISION SCREENING VERSUS EYE EXAMINATION
Places that offer free exams with glasses are only giving you a vision screening - a very quick, and inaccurate form of vision correction. An eye examination, on the other hand, looks at the total health of the eye, and addresses problems such as a "lazy eye, "diabetes, or any other health issues that can be present. With Dr. Atkins, you can be sure that if glasses are needed, the most accurate prescription is being put into the glasses. Keeping the same eye doctor every year is just as important as keeping the same primary care physician. A physician who is familiar with your child's health can provide the best care over time since they personally know your child's history.
WHAT IS A "LAZY EYE"?
A "lazy eye" is one or both eyes that turn inward or outward involuntarily. This is an important issue that needs to be addressed when it is first noticed. Some lazy eyes are the result of congenital problems (which can be caused by the mother smoking during pregnancy), others are the result of poor eye muscles. Correction may involve glasses or patching, only your eye doctor will be able to determine the best way to treat this condition.
Typically, a child has somewhere up to age 10 to have his/her vision corrected with patching or glasses. After that age, it will be too late. Surgery is a possibility; however, having surgery early, before growing is finished, will most likely mean more surgeries down the road because of growth.
Any vision information coming in from the lazy eye will be blocked (the brain cannot connect visual information coming from two different areas at one time) and only the good eye will be used. Surgery at this time will only be cosmetic. Surgery can turn the lazy eye to the front, but the brain has literally shut off that eye. If the child should experience an accident in which the good eye is lost (bbgun, car accident, sports injury, etc.) the brain will not be able to properly pick up the lazy eye and the person could be blind.
Another reason to have a lazy eye treated as early as possible (toddler age), is that our vision needs to have both eyes work together to give dimension to whatever they are looking at. With only one eye, the person has a very difficult time judging distances; how far one item is from another. This also affects the person's ability to enjoy 3D technology since the brain needs the two images (one from each eye) and the 3D technology to produce a 3D image.
Is patching fun? Not really; however Dr. Atkins works with the child to make patching as "painless" as possible. Sometimes just wearing a patch when not in school may be sufficient (so they are not made fun of). If the parent helps the child to make it something fun (you're going to be a pirate!), then the child will more likely accept the discipline of wearing a patch.
As stated above, sometimes just prescription glasses will correct the situation. With 3D technology, it is so important that children be able to use this technology and I'm sure that in future work environments, 3D will be used daily. Also with sports, a child has to be able to judge the distance between the bat and ball, hockey puck and stick, etc.
Please do not think that you can treat your child's lazy eye by buying a patch. This is a medical condition that must be evaluated and treated by your eye doctor.