As August rolls around, parents with young children are preparing them to head back to school. Many parents think that getting paper, pencils, tissues and crayons is enough to prepare their children for heading back to class, but many fail to consider their children’s eyesight and the effect it can have on their education. August is the National Children’s Vision and Learning Month, and every parent should take notice and do what they can to ensure their child is ready for school.
Most parents think that simply having their children screened at school for 20/20 vision is enough to ensure they can read correctly. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development, however, specifies seventeen different visual skills that have a direct effect on learning, reading and life in general. These skills include sustaining alignment, spontaneous focus and sustaining focus, just to name a few. Impairment in any of these seventeen skills can directly affect a child’s ability to read, and thus, their ability to learn.
Some schools have cursory screenings for children’s eyesight, but these screenings are only capable of detecting five percent of visual problems. Other problems can go undiagnosed without a trip to an optometrist. Doctors will often check a child’s eyesight during each of their checkups, but a more complete examination performed by an optometrist should be done before a child enters school. Any vision problem can slow a child’s progress, and if left untreated may cause them to be held back during their school years. That’s why during National Children’s Vision and Learning Month, every parent should take a proactive stance in their children’s eyesight and schedule a comprehensive exam with their optometrist.