If your child is bright but receiving poor marks on their report cards, you may wonder why your little one’s grades aren’t reflective of the brains you see at home.
Common vision problems can go undetected, and, in some cases, can be misdiagnosed as a learning disability. Up to 80 percent of what’s learned in the classroom is visual, and it’s estimated that over 60 percent of problem students actually have undiagnosed vision problems.
With children, vision changes can occur without notice – in fact, most children don’t necessarily understand what “normal” vision is. Uncorrected vision problems can cause children to suffer academically, socially and personally. A comprehensive eye exam can catch vision issues that might interfere with learning, or lead to the following symptoms:
- Performing below grade levels at school
- Low reading comprehension skills
- Blinking excessively
- Complaining of headaches
- Having difficulty copying from a chalkboard or textbook
- Feeling tired after reading
- Complaining of itchy, burning, or watery eyes
- Moving their head back and forth instead of only using the eyes for reading
- Having problems with hand-eye coordination in sports
More than one-third of parents with school-aged children admit to not having their children’s eyes tested in the last five years. Not only will clear vision make it easier for your student to read what the teacher is writing on the blackboard or smartboard, but it helps them to process and remember what’s being taught. While pediatricians test for some eye problems, many other conditions can only be detected in a yearly vision health exam. Early diagnosis of childhood eye disease is crucial to their development.
And in the digital age, it’s more important than ever to have your child’s eyes checked. Kids may not realize how much time they spend looking at a screen and are unaware they’re having problems. Prolonged screen activity can cause eye focusing and eye strain problems. A study from the American Heart Association shows that 60 percent of teens spend an average of 20 hours per week in front of television and computer screens, while one-third of teens spend closer to 40 hours per week in front of screens. Browsing, “Liking,” and Googling can lead to blurry vision, loss of focus, and dry, tired eyes. Not to mention, it can affect learning and school productivity.
As parents, you should stress the importance of taking frequent breaks from digital devices and the 20-20-20 rule is a great way to start. Every 20 minutes take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away.
For more tips and tricks to keep your child’s eyes healthy this school year (including an eye healthy recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars perfect for school lunches), check out the MyEyeDr. blog.
MyEyeDr. is a network of optometry practices that offers comprehensive eye care services, a selection of designer and value prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, and standard and specialty prescription contact lenses. By welcoming all vision insurance plans and providers, MyEyeDr. makes vision health attainable for everyone. For more information, visit www.myeyedr.com.