At back-to-school season, it is important to make sure your children have everything they need for a successful year. Almost everyone makes sure their children have school supplies, such as pencils, erasers, backpacks, a lunch box, and new clothes. But how about one of the most important things that your child needs to succeed in school: good vision.
There is a very strong connection between vision and academic, as well as sports performance. Children must process a flood of visual information at school and home, most of it unfamiliar to them. So for children to reach their highest potential, it is essential to ensure that they have the best possible vision and visual skills to allow them to input and process what they see quickly and correctly.
If a child has vision problems that haven’t been diagnosed with a proper eye exam, these problems can interfere with learning and sports. Often a child is considered a low achiever, “not good at sports”, uncoordinated, or even lazy, when they really have a vision problem that is not allowing them to learn and play ball! Your child may feel that they’re behind in school and is unable to understand why his classmates are performing so much better. Fortunately, wearing glasses or contact lenses, or having Vision Therapy can be a life-altering experience for children. One they’re able to see the world in its full splendor, they can fully engage with their studies, sports, and daily lives.
Problems with overall eye health, refraction, and functional and perceptual vision problems can lead to learning disabilities in children. Most optometrists and ophthalmologists only check to see if your child needs glasses, and the health of their eye during an eye exam. A Developmental Optometrist who specializes in children’s vision, goes beyond this by also evaluating how a child inputs and processes visual information related to academic and athletic performance.
Learning Related Problems
Children with poor eyesight are at risk of developing learning related problems, which are distinct from learning disabilities. Problems with eyesight can affect the brain as well, resulting in headaches and lack of attention that can be mistaken for ADD symptoms. There are some telltale signs that can help you identify that your child may have vision problems, including excessive blinking, eye rubbing, squinting, and avoidance of visual assignments. Pay attention if your child tells you their vision is blurry or distorted. Color blindness can also affect children’s learning abilities, especially since so many tasks in elementary school involve the identification of colors.
Eye Coordination Problems
Some children with poor eyesight are unable to synchronize their eye movements. In small children especially, this problem may affect their balance, depth perception and eye hand coordination. Children with poor vision may also have trouble making the distinction between left and right. Symptoms to watch your child for include repeatedly closing one eye, seeing double, constant eye rubbing, low reading comprehension or reversing letters or words. Ask your child’s teacher if they’ve noticed any problems. Teachers are particularly helpful in spotting anomalies in your child’s reading ability.
Remember that your child doesn’t have the same vocabulary for describing vision problems as you do, so they may not recognize they have a vision problem unless they get a formal eye exam. To help your children attain their full potential, take them in for an eye exam at Hollywood Vision Center. It’s always best to identify and treat vision problems as early as possible.