Why Haven’t You Taken Your Child to Receive an Eye Exam Recently?

Among the 1,532 parents responding to the Vision Council’s VisionWatch Parent for Child Report who have not taken their children to receive an eye exam within the past two years, 63% claim they have not taken their children for an exam because their children do not need an exam. Parents with children over the age of 10 living at home and parents with more than one child living at home were more likely than other parents to avoid eye exams for their children because of the belief that their children don’t need one.

A significantly large portion of parents who have not taken their children for an eye exam recently (35.6%) believe that their children are too young to experience vision problems and therefore do not need an exam. Parents with only one child living at home, and parents with a child under the age of 10 were more likely than other parents to avoid taking their child for an eye exam due to the belief that their child is too young for a vision problem. 14% of parents said they have not taken their child for an eye exam recently because their vision problems are only minor. This was especially true for parents of older children (age 10 and older) and parents with more than one child living at home. For almost 8% of parents whose children have not received an eye exam recently the perceived high cost of an exam has prevented them from taking their child for an exam. The notion that the exam will cost too much was a particular strong deterrent for parents with no vision insurance and for parents with an average household income of under $40,000 annually.

7% of parents with children who have not received an exam in the past two years said they were too busy to take their children for an eye exam. This was especially true for parents with more than two children living at home and for parents with children between the ages of 10 and 13. Another 7% of parents said their children had not received an exam recently because they did not have an eye doctor. This was especially the case for parents with an annual household income under $40,000, those with no vision insurance coverage and for parents with children over the age of 13 living at home.

What are the numbers?  1 in 4 school-aged children have vision problems.
 
What is the risk?  Undiagnosed visual conditions cause unresolved life problems. What is the solution?  Education.
 
How good of a job are we doing?  Based on the Vision Council’s report, not good. We have to start somewhere, so let’s start in our practices. We can do this by signage in the office.

Here are three signs that should be in every doctor’s office:

“Did you know that 1 in 4 school-aged children have vision problems? A child who has never seen the world clearly has no reference point to tell you that something is wrong. Don’t let your child live with a problem that can be easily addressed. Get your child’s eyes examined yearly by an optometrist.”

“Did you know that the eyesight test done by the school nurse or by the pediatrician does a poor job of identifying visual problems? It identifies correctly about half of the children screened. In other words, when children are given the test, about half are told they do not have a problem when they do or told they do have a problem when they do not. Don’t let your child live with a problem that can be easily addressed. Get your child’s eyes examined yearly by an optometrist.”

“A child’s body changes every year. The eyes are part of the body and they change just like the rest of the body. Just because your child had an eye exam one or two years ago does not mean they are still the same today. Don’t let your child live with a problem that can be easily addressed. Get your child’s eyes examined yearly by an optometrist.”

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Can PlusoptiX Replace Cycloplegic Exams in Young Children?

Pupil dilation lengthens exams, but also increases the cost of the exams. The plusoptiX photoscreener is a noninvasive digital infrared device linked to software. It takes multiple photographs in 3 different meridians in just a few seconds. The plusoptiX screens both eyes simultaneously for refractive errors, pupil size, and gaze deviation in patients as young as 6 months. Results are displayed immediately as a pass or refer. Pupil size, corneal reflexes, and refraction are measured and compared with referral criteria; if readings are outside age-based limits, a refer recommendation is displayed

The researchers who presented at the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus 38th Annual Meeting, conclude that a normal plusoptiX result, combined with normal alignment/motility evaluation and normal visual acuity, has a 98% negative predictive value for ophthalmologic pathology.

Waiting Room Elapsed Time in Eyecare Offices

30% of eyecare patients spend 15 minutes or more in the waiting room before service begins, according to a June 2011 survey of adults conducted by Jobson Optical Research. Another 38% of patients spend 10 minutes or less in the waiting room, a wait that most patients consider reasonable. The average wait is calculated to be 16 minutes.