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Vision and Learning

February 2, 2011 - Rodney Smith
The American Optometric Association recommends that school aged children receive a complete eye exam every year. Not a vision screening, like might be done at school or in the pediatrician’s office, but a comprehensive exam with an eye doctor.

And there are many good reasons this prestigious organization advocates this. One is the connection between vision and learning. Seeing is our dominant sense and our primary source for gathering information in learning. Consider this, experts say more than 80% of what children are taught in school is presented to them visually. So it should come as no surprise to learn that uncorrected vision problems can have a profound effect on how we learn.

That means that the first step is to make sure your child has 20/20 vision. A thorough eye exam is the only sure way to ensure that. Many, many tests will be done during a good eye exam. This includes making sure any nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism is fully corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

And it turns out that many children- some studies report as many as one in four school-aged children- have a vision problems that prevent them from learning at their full potential.

Consider this list of symptoms that could present from an untreated learning-related vision problems:

  • Blurred vision, particularly during or after homework
  • Frequent headaches and/or eye strain
  • Avoidance of reading and/or homework
  • Easily distracted when reading
  • Hyperactivity or impulsiveness
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Poor overall school performance

Many pediatricians and schools will perform a vision screening. However, there are many learning difficulties that can be attributed to vision problems and these are often not detected during these brief screenings. The only way to be confident that a child’s visual system is performing optimally is to have a thorough eye exam with an eyecare professional. Ideally with an eye doctor that is specifically trained in this area.

Dr. Smith has his office in Cape Coral and he can be reached at (239) 573-4743 or emailed at michiganrodney@yahoo.com.

 
 

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