August is National Children’s Vision & Learning Month. The goal of this national observance is to help educate parents, guardians and educators about the critical link between vision and learning. Vision problems are the 4th most prevalent class of disability in the United States and one of the most prevalent conditions in childhood. Roughly 80 percent of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually. Vision problems can have a profound effect on how children learn. There are many things that can prevent our visual system from working efficiently enough to sustain effective learning:
- Visual clarity: This is what we usually think about…..can children see the smart board across the room, or can they see the text in the book or tablet well enough to read it?
- Children with nearsightedness (can’t see clearly far away) present the most obvious issues in this regard.
- with farsightedness are trickier to detect, because they can see far away, and often can see up close in spurts, however maintaining clear vision for near tasks is difficult on an ongoing basis. Farsightedness can often be associated with some of the behavioral presentations that look like inattention.
- Along with farsightedness, accommodative insufficiency can prevent children from seeing consistently clear for near tasks.
- Visual efficiency: This speaks to how well children process information gathered by their visual system. The efficiency (or inefficiency) of the visual system can influence children’s ability to perform in classroom tasks, including comprehension and retention of information.
- Visual efficiency can be influenced by visual clarity (poor visual input is harder to use).
- Efficiency can be influenced by oculomotor development……both eyes need to correspond with one another in movement and focus, and integrate with one another, if they don’t, efficiency of the visual system suffers.
- Eye health: Some ocular health issues can influence children’s learning. This can be as simple as mild ocular allergies causing itching, discomfort and dryness; or as complex as congenital cataracts or glaucoma that obstruct a child’s vision. As you probably know, eye infections can spread rampantly in schools and can impact attendance and overall wellness.
As an optometrist, I am a primary eye care provider. This means that I can be a first contact for any vision or eye health related issues. I can ensure that children are seeing as clearly as possible, that their visual system is operating as efficiently as possible, and that their eyes are in optimal health.
With the start of a new school year right around the corner, contact us today to schedule a comprehensive examination for your child. Or, please share this information with anyone you think could benefit from our services.
Eye exams for children are extremely important, because 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child’s vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early.
Many parents incorrectly assume when their child passes a school vision screening, there is no vision problem. However, a child can have 20/20 vision but still have trouble seeing. Although the American Optometric Association (AOA) indicates the most common vision problem is nearsightedness (myopia), some children have trouble with eye focusing, eye tracking, and eye coordination. The only way to be sure your child can see clearly is a comprehensive vision exam.
Common signs of learning-related vision problem
Vision can change frequently during the school year, so keep an eye out for the following between appointments:
- Headaches, particularly eye strain
- Short attention span
- Excessive blinking or eye rubbing
- Poor hand-eye coordination
- Difficulty remembering what was read
- Holding reading materials close to the face
- Covering one eye
Annual Eye Exams for Children: As Important as Visits to Pediatricians
When it comes to keeping children healthy and ensuring proper childhood development, annual visits to pediatricians are important. But what most parents don’t realize is that annual eye exams are equally as important. Healthy vision is essential to a child’s ability to learn and achieve their academic potential, as well as to play sports and other activities.
Scheduling Eye Exams For Your Child
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says on its website that your family doctor or pediatrician likely will be the first medical professional to examine your child’s eyes.
If eye problems are suspected during routine physical examinations, a referral might be made to an eye doctor for further evaluation. Eye doctors have specific equipment and training to assist them with spotting potential vision problems.
LEARNING AND VISION
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- 1 in 4 kids has an undetected vision problem.
- Vision changes can occur without your kid even noticing.
- Undetected vision issues lead to learning problems.
- Poor vision can lead to low confidence in school and sports.
- Regular pediatric eye exams are at the heart of kids’ success in school.
- Schedule kids’ eye exams yearly before school starts to make sure your kids are ready to take on their year.