The school year has begun already! Parents are purchasing all the right supplies, attending open houses for their children, possibly taking care of visits to the pediatrician before the school schedule becomes too hectic. However, are we remembering one of the most important items in readying a child for the coming school year? Parents want their children to achieve at the highest level. In order to do this, a child needs many abilities – sight being one of the most important. It has been estimated that 80% of the learning a child does occurs through his or her eyes. Vision is in constant use in the classroom and in sports. If a child has poor vision, academic and sporting activities can suffer.
When vision is impaired, children tend to not pay attention in class due to not being able to see the chalkboard; they may not complete homework due to fatigue or blurring of the pages. This contributes to poor participation, poor grades and added stress for the child and the parent.
We often think that 20/20 vision is all there is to an examination. However, there are many other visual skills beyond seeing clearly that team together for great vision. Every child needs to have:
Visual Acuity – Ability to see clearly near (reading a book), intermediate (computer screen) and distance (reading the chalk board).
Eye Focusing – Ability to focus quickly when viewing objects at different distances in rapid succession (reading a book to focusing on the chalkboard).
Eye Tracking – Ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from across a printed page or following a thrown ball.
Eye Teaming – Ability to coordinate and use both eyes together.
Eye-Hand Coordination – Ability to use the visual information and direct the hands (drawing a picture or throwing a ball).
If any one skill is missing, the child can suffer from eye fatigue, headaches and poor grades.
Some signs that may indicate a child is experiencing visual problems include but are not limited to: rubbing the eyes, excessive blinking of the eyes, short attention span, headaches, holding reading materials too close to face, an eye turning in or out, complaints of double vision and many more.
To be sure your child has all the “supplies” for the new school year, call your optometrist or ophthalmologist for that pre-school eye examination. Let’s help them succeed to their highest capabilities.