Ready For School
Good Vision: A Tool for Learning
All parents want to be sure that
their child is ready for school.
They get the notebooks, pencils,
books and other items on the
school list. They dust off the
lunch box and make the trip to
the mall to buy some new
clothes. But too often, one
important back-to-school step
may be overlooked - a visit to
the eye doctor.
Reading, writing, chalkboard work, and using computers are among
the visual tasks kids do daily in school. A child's eyes are constantly in
use in the classroom and on the playground. However, if his or her
vision is not working properly, schoolwork and participation in sports
can suffer. Having good vision is one of a child's most important
learning tools.

As children progress in school, they face increasing demands on their
vision. The size of print in schoolbooks becomes smaller and the time
spent reading and studying increases significantly. Daily class work
and homework can place significant stress on a child's eyes.
Unfortunately, some kid's visual abilities aren't up to the task.
Smart in Everything but School

Take Susan for example. She was a bright 12 year old who was a puzzle
to her parents and teachers. Even though she was trying as hard as she
could, she was struggling just to stay an average student.
Vision Problems Make Learning More Difficult

When a child's visionl skills are poorly developed, learning is more
difficult and stressful. Children typically react to this stress by either:
l Avoiding reading and other near tasks as much as possible or
l Attempting to do the work anyway and developing eye
discomfort, fatigue, and a short attention span.
She had a very difficult time reading. She
would read very slowly and her
comprehension was much better when
listening to something read to her, than when
reading it herself. It took her twice as long as
expected to complete her homework
assignments.

A school psychologist evaluated her and
suspected her academic problems were due
to an emotional disorder and possibly a
learning disability. However, the exact reason
for her poor performance in school remained
a mystery. There seemed to be a missing
link, but no one could put a finger on it.
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Finally, on the recommendation of a neighbor, her parents decided to have
her vision checked. Testing showed that Susan had eye teaming and eye
tracking problems. She was struggling to succeed because her eyes and
brain were unable to work together efficiently to obtain and use visual
information needed to read and learn.
Don't wait for your child to tell you
he or she is having trouble seeing.
Many children won't report any
symptoms of an eye or vision
problem because they think the way
they see is the way everyone sees.
Vision can change frequently during the school years. So regular vision
exams are important. Some children develop refractive errors like
nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. In addition, the
presence of eye focusing, eye tracking and eye teaming problems can
affect school and sports performance.

Eyeglasses or contact lenses provide the needed correction for many
vision problems. However, a program of eye exercises called vision
therapy
may also be needed to help develop or enhance vision skills
essential for reading and learning
.

TM
Vision Topics