Vision problems can significantly affect your child’s ability to learn. When children are struggling to see well, they have a hard time following along in class and concentrating on assignments. This can lead to poor academic performance that has nothing to do with their abilities or motivation.
If vision problems are not corrected early, children can get behind in school. This can potentially start a chain reaction of poor performance, low self-esteem and behavior problems.
One in 10 children has a vision problem significant enough to impact learning. Getting your child’s vision checked by an optometrist is a critical step to take before they start school. Vision screenings at school or at the pediatrician’s office are not the same as a comprehensive eye exam from an optometrist.
Vision screenings are limited in scope, which means some problems can go undetected. Even if children have 20/20 vision, other problems can affect their ability to see.
Children’s vision can change during the school year. It’s important to watch for the following signs between eye appointments:
- Holding reading materials close to their face or sitting close to the TV
- Excessive blinking or rubbing their eyes
- Covering one eye or tilting their head to one side
- Short attention span or difficulty remembering what they read
- Poor hand-eye coordination
Some common vision conditions that are not detected during vision screenings are strabismus, where both eyes do not look in the same direction at the same time; “lazy eye”, where one eye has poorer vision; and refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
As you prepare your children for the upcoming school year, remember to schedule them for a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist.