Vision and Learning: What You need to Know
Earlier this month, we told you that August is Children’s Vision and Learning Month! While we’ve already stressed the importance of making sure your children get a yearly eye exam, there are a few things you should know to make you more aware of the connection between your child’s vision and learning. Here are our top tips:
A learning issue could actually be a vision issue.
If you’re seeing poor academic performance in your child, or your child seems to hate going to school and finds excuses to stay home, the issue may not be laziness or even attention deficit. While it’s important to make sure your child gets a professional assessment to rule out disorders like Autism and ADHD, don’t ignore the possibility that the issue could be as simple as your child’s inability to see clearly. Imagine trying to learn when it’s difficult to read or to see the front of the classroom or even the computer screen or tablet in front of you. When kids can’t see well, their academic performance suffers. And when academic performance suffers, kids start feeling bad about themselves and other behavior issues could ensue.
20/20 may not be perfect.
If your child has 20/20 vision, that doesn’t necessarily mean his or her eyes are perfect. Chances are, your child will have his or her “eyes checked” at the beginning of each school year by a school nurse or other staff. But just because he or she passes with flying colors, that doesn’t mean there’s not a vision issue at play. According to the American Optometric Association, the most common vision issue among children is nearsightedness, but there may be other issues preventing your child from succeeding in school. For example, your child might have a difficult time focusing his or her eyes, tracking words or objects and even eye coordination. That’s why a comprehensive eye exam is the only way to rule out vision issues in your child.
There are signs to watch for.
Comprehensive eye exams are important for your child on an annual basis, but they’re absolutely critical if you notice any indications that your child is having a hard time seeing. Pay attention to your child’s behavior so you can identify common vision issues. These include frequent complaints about headaches – particularly after reading or sitting in front of a computer – a short attention span, frequent eye rubbing or blinking, difficulty retaining information he or she has read or holding books and papers close to the face in order to read them. Additionally, if your child is participating in sports or other physical activities and has difficulty with hand-eye coordination, it could indicate a vision problem.
The time is now.
When a child has learning problems, it’s easy (and natural) for them to affect various facets of their lives. Fortunately, when learning issues stem from vision problems, they are entirely preventable. Think about it: when a child has problems seeing, his or her academic success suffers. When academic (or any) performance suffers, the child naturally suffers self-esteem issues. Those self-esteem issues can then transform into behavioral problems, and eventually, into dangerous and self-destructive behaviors. While this might sound like a worst-case scenario, as a parent you want to do everything in your power to help your children succeed. An easy way to do that is to ensure that your child is armed with the best tool possible – healthy vision!
Got questions about vision and learning? Whether you’re asking for yourself or your child, we’ve got you covered. Remember, we’re here to help! Give us a call today.