Here is a great article published in All about Vision.com that summarizes the importance of children’s eye exams:
Vision Problems of Schoolchildren
Your child’s vision is essential to his success in school. When his vision suffers, chances are his schoolwork does, too.
Vision problems are common among school-age kids. According to Prevent Blindness America, one in four school-age children have vision problems that, if left untreated, can affect learning ability, personality and adjustment in school.
School-age children also spend a lot of time in recreational activities that require good vision. After-school team sports or playing in the backyard aren’t as fun if you can’t see well.
Warning Signs of Vision Problems in Kids
Refractive errors are the most common cause of vision problems among school-age children. Parents, as well as teachers, should be aware of these 10 signs that a child’s vision needs correction:
Blurry vision may be interfering with your child’s ability to learn in school. Regular eye exams can detect and correct this and other vision problems.
- Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close
- Losing his place while reading or using a finger to guide his eyes when reading
- Squinting or tilting the head to see better
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Sensitivity to light and/or excessive tearing
- Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
- Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as reading or homework, or distance vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities
- Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
- Avoiding using a computer, because it “hurts his eyes”
- Receiving lower grades than usual
Learning disabilities are another concern with school-age children. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.3 percent of boys and 3.8 percent of girls ages 5 to 17 were identified in 2003 as having a learning disability (LD).
Learning disabilities are psychological disorders that affect learning; they are not vision problems. But learning-related vision problems sometimes can coexist with LD or be associated with learning disabilities.
In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.) found that children with binocular vision problems (intermittent exotropia and convergence insufficiency) were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children with normal eye alignment.
If your child frequently reverses letters while reading or writing, exhibits poor handwriting, dislikes or has difficulty with reading, writing or math, consistently mistakes his left for his right or vice versa, can’t verbally express himself or consistently behaves inappropriately in social situations, then seek help.
A multidisciplinary approach usually is the best way to find the cause of learning problems. Consultation with your child’s teacher should be the first step. But it’s wise also to consult with an eye doctor who specializes in eye exams for children and your pediatrician for additional advice and possible referral to specialists.
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