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Is an eye exam on your child's back-to-school checklist? Here's why doctors recommend it.

Why kids need back-to-school eye exams
Parents should plan back-to-school eye exams for kids, experts say 01:38

Your back-to-school checklist should include a visit to the eye doctor, experts advise. They say it's a good time for kids to get a checkup that can help them succeed in the classroom.

Vision problems can lead to issues in a child's development, school performance and self-esteem, according to the American Optometric Association, or AOA. The organization notes 1 in 4 children in the U.S. has a vision disorder that needs to be diagnosed and treated.

Dr. Viola Kanevsky, an optometrist with Acuity NYC, says kids eyes' should be checked in infancy and then annually starting around ages 3 to 5. 

"Just like they're growing, their eyes are growing with them," Kanevsky says.

If caught early, some vision problems can be slowed or even cured. Kanevsky notes that cases of nearsightedness are up dramatically as kids use more screens and electronic devices, and early intervention is important.

"Age 7 is pretty much the end of a very critical period in a child's visual development. And while it's still possible to correct some things, it becomes much more difficult and a much bigger struggle and you may not get vision back 100%," she told CBS News.

Some parents may think a comprehensive eye exam is unnecessary when their children receive vision screenings at school. But the AOA says school screenings can miss up to 75% of kids with vision problems.

Kanevsky says comprehensive exams are often covered by insurance and take about an hour. She's able to see inside the eye and get an accurate picture of not only vision but a child's health. She also tries to turn an exam into a game for children who may be nervous.

It's a back to school test that can give kids a sharper, clearer future.

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