Vision testing urged as part of back-to-school routine

Undiagnosed vision problems common in kids

STREETSBORO, Ohio - One in every four students in grades K-6 have visual problems that are serious enough to impede learning, according to the American Public Health Association.

Obviously, discovering and remedying vision issues in children is crucial to their development and scholastic success.

NewsChannel5 talked with eye doctors at the Ripkin Vision and Laser Center in Streetsboro and watched as one youngster just starting school received an eye exam.

"You want make sure your child is seeing the best they can before they start preschool or kindergarten," said Optometrist Robin Baker-Parnell. "So they're on the same learning curve as all of their peers."

Dr. Baker-Parnell said, surprisingly, only about 14 percent of students going into school have a comprehensive eye exam before they start school. And she suggested as many as 10 million children in the United States may have an undiagnosed vision problem.

Five-year-old Lucas Tinter is not be counted in those statistics. Lucas' grandmother, Joyce Tinter, brought him in for a complete vision exam before Lucas began kindergarten this year.

"It's extremely important," said Grandma Tinter. " We want to make sure that his eyes are in good shape so he does well in school."

NewsChannel5 watched with Grandma as Lucas underwent a battery of tests with Dr. Baker-Parnell -- checking for common near and farsightedness and astigmatism as well as more troublesome disorders like amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (misaligned eyes).

After barely half-an-hour, the exam was complete and Dr. Baker-Parnell reported little Lucas' vision was 20/20.

As Lucas and his grandmother headed out the door, Lucas was presented with the only eyeglasses he would be getting - a pair of green, oversized, silly, souvenir spectacles.

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