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Dr. Toups: The Role of Proper Vision in School

Children need an assortment of abilities to be successful in school. Among the most important of these skills is good vision. Many studies on learning in school-age children indicate that as much as 80% of learning occurs through a child's sense of sight. Reading, writing, chalkboard work, and using computers are among the visual tasks students perform every day. Your child's eyes are constantly in use both in the classroom and out. Without proper vision, your child's education and participation in sports can suffer.

These formative years in school represent a very important time in every child's life. All parents strive for their children to do well in school and most parents do the best that they can to provide them with the best educational opportunities possible. Unfortunately, all too often, a child's vision is overlooked as an essential school supply.

As children get older and continue through school, the demands made on their visual system increase significantly. The size of print in schoolbooks gets smaller as more information needs to be packed into each page, and the amount of time spent reading and studying increases significantly. The increased amount of class work and homework place significant demands on the child's eyes. Unfortunately, the visual abilities of some students aren't performing up to the task.

When certain visual skills have not developed, or are poorly developed, learning is difficult and stressful. Because children are usually not aware that their vision isn't meant to be this way, they are unlikely to report problems to adults. It is, therefore, up to parents and teachers to recognize when a child is having visual issues. Symptoms include:

·         Avoiding reading and other near visual work as much as possible.

·         Attempting to do the work anyway, but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency.

·         Experiencing discomfort, fatigue and a short attention span.

A few other less common indications of learning difficulties are behaviors of hyperactivity and distractibility. Often these children are misdiagnosed with "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD). However, undetected and untreated vision problems can often cause a child to exhibit some of the very same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to ADHD.

Regular eye and vision care is important. The most common vision problem is nearsightedness or myopia. However, some children have other forms of refractive error like farsightedness and astigmatism. In addition, the existence of eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination problems may affect school and sports performance.

Eyeglasses or contact lenses may provide the needed correction for many vision problems. However, a program of vision therapy may also be needed to help develop or enhance vision skills.

For more information about school and proper vision, contact Dr. Michael Toups at Eye Trends in The Woodlands, Texas, today.