We’ve all been there. Holding papers too close to your face, squinting to read what’s on the screen, or that dull headache that comes after reading. For school-age children, however, 80% of what they learn comes through the visual system. The impact poor vision can have is huge when it comes to grades, comprehension and behavior.
According to Optometrist Pamela Lowe, anywhere from 25-30% of school-age children have a vision problem. Especially with younger children who may struggle vocalizing what’s wrong, vision problems often go mis- or even undiagnosed.
“Just imagine if you’re not seeing comfortably, many of those students start fidgeting, acting out, and so they get labeled as learning disabled or a behavioral problem when it really can be an underlying vision problem,” Lowe says.
She urges parents to watch for the following signs that may indicate a vision problem:
- Avoiding school work
- Rubbing eyes
- If a child seems irritated in general
However, children don’t always display signs. A professional check up is the only way to ensure a child is receiving the proper care he/she needs. Lowe says children should receive an eye exam within the first year of life, once they turn three, as a pre-screen for kindergarten, and then yearly check ups moving forward.