Every month Doctor Ramp answers YOUR eyecare questions. This month, he will be answering all of your questions about eyecare for your children, back to school appointments, and everything else children eyecare related.
Q: How often should I be getting my kids eyes checked?
Dr Ramp: You should get your child’s eyes examined every year. The best time to do it is in the summer before the start of the school year- so, right about now! Remember that the vision screening at school or the pediatrician’s office DOES NOT constitute an eye exam- we do a much more comprehensive exam here than a basic “vision test” not done at an optometry office.
Q: What tests will you be doing on my child during an exam? Do you recommend getting any extra tests done?
Dr Ramp: Of course we test your child’s vision, but we also test their eye muscles, the eyes’ ability to work together, their color vision, their depth perception, their ability to focus on near objects, eye allergies, and several other eye and health conditions.
One thing we highly recommend is taking pictures of the inside of their child’s eyes. It often alleviates the need to do those scary and annoying dilation eye drops!
Q: How can we monitor our children’s eye health throughout the school year?
Dr. Ramp: Look for signs of squinting, eye rubbing, changes in posture or changes in the distance that your child holds devices, turning of one eye in or out, the teacher needing to move your child closer to the front of the class (for seeing the board, not if they are talking or for something behavioral!), complaints of headaches, getting sleepy after reading or device use, changes in sleep patterns, or difficulty sleeping may indicate too much screen time later in the day.
Q: What do we do if my child needs glasses? Can they use contacts?
Dr Ramp: If your child needs glasses, we will get them all set up here at Belterra! We have over 100 frames to choose from for kids. It is important to get a frame that is durable and lenses that are very scratch- and shatter-resistant. Me and my team will make sure they choose the right one!
As far as glasses or contacts, me or your eye doctor will go over how often they need to be worn and what activities they might have to remove them for. Contacts are always a great option for many kids and can sometimes be successfully worn as young as 8 years old—although most are 10-12 when they first consider wearing contact lenses.
Q: My teenager will be learning to drive this year, is there anything special that we need to do for their vision?
Dr Ramp: When first learning to drive there are so many different things to worry about, you don’t want their vision to be one of them! We want to make sure your teen has the best vision possible when they’re on the road. Often times teens don’t realize they have a vision problem until they’re driving at night or on a rainy day and problems arise. Getting a thorough eye exam is the first step to uncovering whether glasses for driving may be necessary. Again, the drivers license exam won’t uncover these issues, so they should come in for an exam before they start driving on the road.
Q: Is there anything I should do to prepare for my child’s eye exam? What questions will Dr. Ramp be asking?
Dr Ramp: The only thing to prepare for their exam is if they have been already wearing glasses or contacts. Then we will need the glasses and/or contact lenses they have been wearing if they currently need vision correction. Also, any forms you need from school, the pediatrician’s office, or the DMV are helpful. Otherwise just make sure your child is well rested and know that they will be getting an eye exam!
Either myself or your eye doctor will ask about any history of eye or vision conditions, any signs the parent has noticed or anything that your child has complained about. If something is wrong, it is helpful to know which eye is bothersome and what time or which activities are most bothersome. Also, we will ask about general health and medical conditions, family eye or vision issues, and anything related to health and vision.
Q: What happens if you find something wrong with my child’s vision?
Dr Ramp: We will go over the best options for treating said condition(s) and recommend the appropriate followup visits or referrals if necessary. If it means glasses or contacts we will discuss how to wear them and when to wear them. We will go over how long they might expect to need treatment, and when we will need them to return to re-examine their eyes/vision. You can ask as many questions that you need about your child’s eyes will happen at this point.
Q: Do you take insurance? How much is an eye exam?
Dr Ramp: We accept most vision insurances at Belterra eyecare. We also accept most health insurance plans, which often help cover portions of, if not the entire exam. So be sure to provide vision AND medical insurance when you come for your appointment- both may help! If you don’t have insurance, please let us know- we can help walk you through what you need for you or your child based on many different factors (such as, does your child have an eye injury that needs taken care of immediately, does your child have a complex vision issue that may require additional testing, what is it you are looking to get out of your vision exam, etc) and will speak with you about payment options if you do not have any form of insurance.
That concludes “Ask Dr Ramp” for Back to School! If you have a question for Belterra’s optometrist Dr Ramp, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org- you may see your question answered here next issue!