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How important is good vision to your child’s success?

By Scott Thielen ABOC-AC

Girl Child Doing homework 1280x480Many parents rely on school vision screenings to determine if their child has a vision issue, however these screening generally only pick up 25% of children with vision problems.  The fact is school nurses only check for visual acuity and not the complete visual system.  Worse yet is only 39% of the children who fail these screenings see an optometrist or ophthalmologist.  Many children who are diagnosed with learning disorders, really are in need eyeglasses or vision therapy.  Being able to see a vision chart is not the same as being able to see without straining the visual system. An analogy I often give to parents is try reading a book while doing push ups and see how much you retain.  A child that is exerting lots of energy just to be able to read is not comprehending what is read.  Local Lions Clubs are doing a lot to screen local children and bring awareness to vision issues, but still many parents are not taking the results of failed screenings seriously.  We know vision accounts for 80% of  what we learn, so it is very important for the future of our children.

Symptoms of learning-related vision problems include:

  • Headaches or eye strain
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Crossed eyes or eyes that appear to move independently of each other (Read more about strabismus.)
  • Dislike or avoidance of reading and close work
  • Short attention span during visual tasks
  • Turning or tilting the head to use one eye only, or closing or covering one eye
  • Placing the head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing
  • Excessive blinking or rubbing the eyes
  • Losing place while reading, or using a finger as a guide
  • Slow reading speed or poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty remembering what was read
  • Omitting or repeating words, or confusing similar words
  • Persistent reversal of words or letters (after second grade)
  • Difficulty remembering, identifying or reproducing shapes
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Evidence of developmental immaturity