A child’s vision may change frequently during the school year without the student or parent noticing. Vision includes a child’s eyesight, the need for a prescription as well as visual skills such as focusing, eye coordination, fine eye movements and more. Academic success requires many different moving parts, and one of these important but often overlooked aspects is vision.
Take this FBISD school holiday on Friday to have your child’s eyes checked especially if he/she shows some of the following symptoms: avoidance of reading, excessive rubbing or blinking of eyes, short attention span, headaches, loses place often while reading, difficulty remembering what has just been read, holding materials too closely, words seem to move on the page, seeing double, uses finger to maintain place while reading, reads very slowly, skips or omits words when reading, poor reading comprehension, print appears to go in and out of focus, eyes hurt or feel tired after only a few minutes of reading, makes errors while copying, crooked or poorly spaced writing, feels unusually tired after reading, re-reads words or sentences, unusual head posture when reading or doing near-work, eyes become watery or red when reading.
Pediatricians play a vital role in the management of eye conditions in children. However, some young children can be difficult to assess because of their lack of compliance while some conditions are just difficult to diagnose in a pediatrician’s office. The eight most commonly missed eye disorders in a primary care physician setting are: amblyopia, eye trauma, glaucoma, ocular inflammation, leukocoria, systemic disorders that affect the eye, small-angle strabismus and subtle nystagmus. The visual outcomes of these disorders can be maximized through early detection and proper subsequent treatment. If you suspect that your child may have one of these conditions, contact us.
In this research study, students who were ALREADY diagnosed with ADHD were given office-based visual skills therapy. After the therapy, symptoms such as loss of place while reading, needing to re-read, reading slowly, loss of concentration, trouble remembering what was read IMPROVED significantly. In addition, these students’ attention scores IMPROVED after therapy as tested by the Conners 3 ADHD Index. The research team concluded that visual skills problems affect attention and can contribute to behavioral and academic problems.
Does your child have difficulty maintaining his/her attention when asked to do schoolwork? Is your child seemingly bright, but not showing it academically? Visual skills may be playing a role in this. If so, office-based visual skills therapy can help. Schedule a visual skills exam in addition to a yearly eye exam.
Here are the results of a clever study: Students who DID NOT have ADHD or visual skills problems, were temporarily MADE TO HAVE a visual skills problem by the research team. Their sustained attention dropped significantly as tested by the Conners CPT compared to before they were made to have a visual skills problem. The research team concluded that visual skills affect sustained attention and that visual skills problems often compound the symptoms of inattention.
Does your child lose concentration easily when asked to read, write or complete near-work? Visual skills might be playing a role in his/her inattention. Schedule a visual skills exam in addition to a yearly eye exam.
Why is a yearly eye exam as well as a visual skills exam potentially so important for students as they enter a new school year? Over the next couple of weeks we will look at well-designed clinical studies to help us understand the importance of vision, which includes eyesight and visual skills, in learning.
We will start with this recent finding. In a study involving students who werealready diagnosed with a visual skills problem, their top 5 most frequent complaints were:
loss of place while reading
needing to re-read
loss of concentration
trouble remembering what was read.
Does your child exhibit any of those five symptoms? If so, then maybe it’s due to an undiagnosed visual skills problem. A yearly exam is a good place to start, but yearly eye exams do not check for the visual skills problems that can cause those symptoms. Schedule a visual skills exam in addition to the yearly eye exam.
Could your child’s vision be affecting his/her ability to read, write or learn? It’s not just about a child failing. Many bright children perform below their potential because they are being limited by their vision issues. These vision issues could include the need for glasses as well as poorly developed visual skills.
The following survey has been tested nationwide. If your child totals 20 or more points on the survey, then he/she is at a much greater risk for vision affecting academics. Visit the following link to check if your child may be affected by undiscovered vision issues: https://goo.gl/forms/rFnkCBreFBdKNjJy2
25-30% of children have vision problems that interfere with academics
Students who failed vision screenings scored worse on standardized tests
In a clinical study involving elementary-aged school children published in 2017, those who had failed a vision screening scored significantly worse on standardized tests of reading, grammar and punctuation, spelling and numeracy compared to students who had not failed the vision screening.
In another clinical study, near visual skills, not just visual acuity, explained 40% of the variance in reading accuracy performance and 30% of the variance in reading comprehension amongst elementary school children. Put another way, near visual skills were contributory factors in every 4 out of 10 children who performed worse than the average reading accuracy score. Near visual skills were also contributory factors in every 3 out of 10 children who performed worse than the average reading comprehension score.
Checking for a child’s need for eyeglasses is important. Investigating a child’s near visual skills is equally, if not even more, important if he/she is struggling academically because most of a student’s visual demand is within 16-18 inches. We specialize in vision development and its effect on reading, writing and learning.
If a normally-sighted child has two or more moderate risk factors for nearsightedness, then he/she should be evaluated every six months. If two or more risk factors are high, then active treatment to slow down the progression of myopia is recommended. If a child is already myopic, active treatment is recommended and he/she should be monitored every six months. Increasing nearsightedness not only requires thicker and thicker glasses, but it increases the risks of other eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal holes and tears.
Another risk factor for developing nearsightedness is the amount of time spent doing near vision tasks such as reading, writing, drawing, computer work and handheld games. Depending on the amount of time spent, your child may be subjecting himself to low, moderate or high risk of myopia.
The amount of time spent outdoors in daylight is also a risk factor for developing, and worsening, nearsightedness. Depending on the amount of time spent in daylight, you may be subjecting yourself to low, medium or high risk of myopia.