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The importance of children's eye exams

LAWTON, Okla._School starts in just a few days, so a local civic club is doing their part to get kids prepared by screening their eyes to see if they need glasses.

Lawton Lions Clubs helped examine the kids at the Armed Services YMCA Child Care Center. The results of the screening, which shows if the child is nearsighted or farsighted, are then provided to the parents, so they can schedule a more detailed exam.

Desiree Devine brought her three young children in to get their eyes checked because astigmatism runs in the family.

"My daughter has had glasses since she was in preschool. And then my middle son does have an astigmatism, but doesn't need glasses yet. I don't know, we will see today. And then my little one, we wanted to make sure because we have a history of family eye care," Devine explained.

Dr. Justin Cocheran says that's why it's so important to not just rely on a screening. Things like an astigmatism can be missed.

"They should bring their kids in every year for an eye exam, because things can change too. You could be really good and then the next year need glasses all of a sudden," Dr. Cocheran said.

Dr. Cocheran says some students need a little help to do their school work and to see the board.

"It is really sad when they do have eye problems and they never get eye exams, because it definitely puts them behind in school and makes it really hard for them to concentrate, sit still and learn anything when they can't see," Dr. Cocheran said.

Dr. Cocheran says there are signs parents, like Devine, can watch out for in their children to know if they are having trouble seeing.

"If they are squinting a lot, or if they are getting really close to the TV or holding up things really close is one way that people catch it. So, you definitely want to bring them in for that," Dr. Cocheran explained.

Devine says she has learned with her children to bring them into the optometrist, because he is the best judge of the help her kids need.

"I can't say if he needs glasses or not and he can't tell me," Devine said. "So, it is easier for me to come to the doctor and let the doctor decide if that is something he needs."

This weekend, there will be another free screening put on by Lawton Lions Clubs at the Back to School Bash on Saturday, August 8, at Elmer Thomas Park. Screenings will start at 9:00 a.m. and will run until 11:30 am.

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