Children's Vision Care

 

Why is vision so important?

Because 80% of children's learning is done visually.  Reading, writing, blackboard work, computers are all hard work if you cannot see clearly.  It stands to reason that having clear comfortable vision is necessary for a child to learn successfully.  So many of the day to day learning tasks at school require seeing quickly and using visual information.

Is it OK so long as the child can see the whiteboard?

No, not necessarily.  The whiteboard may still look clear and sharp to a child who is having problems with close vision tasks and the child that doesn't see the blackboard clearly may not even think to complain because it has always looked that way.
Unfortunately, a simple distance vision check for the whiteboard does not detect a variety of other problems which affect reading and focus.

What about eye co-ordination skills?

Clear eyesight helps in learning tasks but for close vision work, and particularly reading, other visual skills are needed.  Children must have a variety of scanning, focussing, and visual co-ordination skills for learning and for understanding print.  If these skills have not been developed well, learning is stressful and difficult.

Are learning difficulties and poor vision related?

Many children who have learning difficulties, especially with reading, in fact have focussing errors or poor eye muscle co-ordination, which creates stress or fatigue with close work.  Children with these vision-related learning problems often have excellent distance eyesight.  Consequently, their near vision problems, which are more likely to affect learning, will often go undetected as standard school screening only tests the clarity of distance vision.

What can parents and caregivers do?

Parents, caregivers and teachers should consider undetected visual problems as a contributing factor if learning is not keeping pace with other indicators of ability and intelligence.  This is particularly so if symptoms of visual stress are present.  A full and thorough eye examination is the most effective way of eliminating the possibility of a vision problem.

Symptoms which may indicate a child is having vision problems:

  • Headaches
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Shutting one eye when reading
  • Burning or itchy eyes
  • Poor concentration
  • Losing place when copying
  • Getting tired after close work
  • Avoiding close work
  • Reversing letters or ommitting short words

All of our optometrists are experienced with children's vision - if you have any doubts about your child's vision it would be worth making a suitable appointment for an examination.  You may be eligible for the Enable 15 years and under Subsidy.

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