Consider for a moment the difficulty you would have in reading this sentence if you had blurry or distorted vision.   Now imagine how hard it would be to learn if the information you needed to understand could not be seen or read easily.

Recent studies have indicated that the need for spectacle correction (glasses or contacts) is on the rise. Refractive error is the term given to the condition of requiring some type of spectacle correction.  Refractive error is basically an eye problem where light rays are not focusing crisply on the retina (back of the eye). Usually this is due to the actual shape of the eye, but could be related to other factors. The four common types of refractive errors are myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, means trouble seeing objects at a distance.  Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is often thought of as only difficulty with vision at near (i.e. reading).  However, it can also evolve into problems seeing at a distance when a person has increasing amounts of farsightedness. Astigmatism, having to do mostly with the unusual curvature of the cornea, can effect vision at all ranges.  Finally, presbyopia, is a sort of chronological (age) hallmark.  At or around the age of 40, a person could have difficulty with sustained focusing at near, often necessitating the need for reading glasses.

The first three above mentioned forms are of the greatest concern for our student population.  The relation of vision and learning cannot be overstated. About eighty percent of learning is done visually.  Sadly, often times our practice has been the first to discuss with parents that their child’s poor performance in school could be related to the fact that their vision is poor.  With decreased vision also comes the manifestations of poor behavior at home and school because the child is frustrated.  It is beyond vital to state that good vision is a must in allowing the student to achieve full academic success.

A key factor to successful learning is the early detection of vision problems. A study by the Centers for Disease Control reported less than fifteen percent of preschooler received an eye evaluation and less than twenty two percent even had vision screenings.  Further, recent literature predicts that visual impairment in three to five year olds will increase 25% by 2060.

One of the very first recommendations is to simply employ your observations skills.  Parents,  grandparents, and caretakers should watch for common signs and symptoms of a child who squints, tilts their head, closes or covers one eye, holds reading material very close to their face, sits close to the TV or computer monitor, loses his or her place while reading, and might complain of headaches or eye pain/discomfort.  These are some of the more common symptoms reported daily about our office’s pediatric population.   If you observe those or other symptoms that may alert you to a vision issue, the first step should be to schedule a thorough (complete!) eye examination.  A thorough examination will not only determine a need for glasses and overall eye health, but also detect less obvious vision problems or issues with the eye.

The opening statement of this writing asked you to consider for a moment the difficulty you would have in reading this sentence if you had blurry or distorted vision. Knowing now that about eighty percent of learning comes from our most amazing sense, vision, that’s a consideration that now may  have even more weight of importance than before!  Call today to schedule a thorough eye evaluation for everyone in your family!