Add eye exams to your back-to-school list of musts - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Add eye exams to your back-to-school list of musts

Dr. Mel Gehrig at The Eye Clinic says parents need to have back-to-school eye exams for their children. (Source: KPLC) Dr. Mel Gehrig at The Eye Clinic says parents need to have back-to-school eye exams for their children. (Source: KPLC)
SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) -

Students in Southwest Louisiana will be back to school in less than a month.  During the back-to-school shopping hustle and bustle, don't let your child's health take a back seat.  Eye exams need to be done before that first day of school.

Five-year-old Kyleigh Quebedeaux is about to enter first grade.  Her mother, Chelsea Roll, wants to make sure her daughter's vision is good to go for another school year and that is why she set her up with her first eye exam with Dr. Mel Gehrig at The Eye Clinic.

Dr. Gehrig says parents need to prioritize back-to-school eye exams, because it could mean the difference between good and bad grades in the classroom.

"First of all, they wouldn't be able to see the board, they wouldn't be able to see what the teacher is doing and when they're looking up close, when they're reading books, they're not focused on the material, they can't see the material," said Dr. Gehrig.

25 percent of school-aged children have a vision problem, according to Dr. Gehrig, and it is something parents do not typically know about until a doctor picks it up.

"They're not going to tell them, because this is normal for them, this is normally what they see," he said.  "They don't realize they should be able to see things far away like they should."

Roll got her first pair of glasses in elementary school.  She says she knows how important it is to have any vision problems noted before going back to school.

"So that we can get it corrected early on and so that it doesn't cause her to have headaches from straining to look at the board or straining to read books or anything like that," she said.

Dr. Gehrig says parents might notice these warning signs: 

"Squinting, holding things really close, not recognizing people when they come in the room," he said.  "If they're going down the road and their parents see something, and the child doesn't even look at it."

Once a child enters school, they should have an eye exam at least every two years, or more frequently, if specific problems or risk factors exist.  Another reminder for parents: vision screenings at school are just that - screenings.  Routine eye exams are still necessary to stay on top of your child's eye health.  

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