The American Optometric Association estimates that as much as “80% of the learning a child does occurs through his or her eyes.”
Dr. Karen Taugher, a parent and optometrist, points out that children’s eyesight can seemingly change quickly and that children may not even realize that they have poor vision. These undetected vision problems can cause frustration in school when a child can’t see the board or focus on deskwork.
As your child heads back to school, Dr. Taugher recommends looking out for signs that your child may need glasses:
- Squinting: the classic sign that a child is struggling to see near or far
- Holding one eye: a child may cover one eye while reading or focusing on something in the distance, such as the television
- Eye rubbing: eye strain may cause fatigue and you will notice your child rubbing his or her eyes after reading or doing homework
- Headaches: frequent headaches in the frontal region or brow may be a result of squinting
- Difficulty reading: a child who is a reader may have trouble keeping his or her place while reading
Other signs include:
- Short attention span
- Complete avoidance of reading
- Tilting the head to one side
- An eye turning in or out
- Seeing double
- Difficulty remembering what he or she read
If you suspect that your child has problems with vision, schedule an eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years, or more frequently if risk factors or specific problems exist. A child’s first eye exam should be conducted no later than 5 years of age. Eye issues can be treated and often corrected with early diagnosis.
Good vision contributes to success in school!
Theresa Wooler has more than 10 years’ experience in K–6 classrooms as a parent volunteer, has taught high school English, and is currently involved in education through Evan-Moor’s marketing communications team.