The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends a visit to the optometrist before heading back to the classroom.
St. Louis-According to studies, 86% of students start school without having their first eye examination. This may impair children’s ability to perform daily tasks at school such as reading, writing, and computer skills. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends a visit to the optometrist before heading back to the classroom.
Some experts believe that approximately 80% of learning comes through a child's eyes. According to the AOA’s 2009 American Eye-Q survey, 88% of respondents did not realize that one in four students have a visual impairment.
“Because a child's vision may change frequently, regular eye and vision care is crucial to a student's classroom success," said Michael Earley, OD, the AOA's vision & learning specialist. "Unfortunately, most parents are not including eye exams as part of their child's back-to-school health check-up."
According to the Eye-Q survey, 58% of parents did not take their child for an eye exam until age 3 years or older. The AOA recommends that children have their first eye assessment at 6 months of age, then comprehensive eye exams beginning at age 3, before a child enters school, and then every 2 years, unless otherwise advised by an optometrist.
The AOA recommends that parents contact their doctor of optometry if their child frequently:
Loses place while reading
Avoids close work
Tends to rub eyes
Turns or tilts head
Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
Uses finger to maintain place when reading
Omits or confuses small words when reading
Consistently performs below potential
Struggles to complete homework
Squints while reading or watching television
Has behavioral problems
Holds reading material closer than normal
Studies indicate that 60% of children identified as "problem learners" actually suffer from undetected vision problems and, in some cases, have been diagnosed inaccurately with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.