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
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:
Avoiding reading and other near tasks as much as possible or
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.
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
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.

Vision Topics