This article was provided by AllAboutVision.com. Follow the links below for more information on eye health and vision correction.
The first step to make sure your child has the proper visual abilities needed in the classroom is to schedule a comprehensive eye exam prior to the school year. During this exam, the eye doctor will make sure your child has 20/20 eyesight and that any nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism is fully corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
However, 20/20 visual acuity alone does not mean your child has all the necessary visual skills required for optimal learning.
Visual acuity (how well your child can see letters on a wall chart) is just one aspect of good vision. Your child can have visual acuity of 20/20 and still have vision problems that can affect his or her learning and classroom performance.
Also, many nearsighted kids may have trouble seeing the board in class, but they read exceptionally well and excel in school.
Important visual skills other than visual acuity that are needed for learning include:
Deficiencies in any of these important visual skills can significantly affect your child’s learning ability and school performance.
Many kids have undetected learning-related vision problems.
According to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), one study indicates 13 percent of children between the ages of 9 and 13 suffer from moderate to severe convergence insufficiency (an eye teaming problem that can affect reading performance), and as many as one in four school-age children may have at least one learning-related vision problem.
Signs and symptoms of learning-related vision disorders include:
A comprehensive children’s eye exam includes tests performed in a routine adult eye exam, plus additional tests to detect learning-related vision problems.
These extra tests may include an assessment of eye focusing, eye teaming, and eye movement abilities (also called accommodation, binocular vision, and ocular motility testing).
Also, depending on the type of problems your child is having, other testing or referral to a specialist may be recommended.
If your child has a learning-related vision problem that cannot be corrected with regular glasses or contact lenses, vision therapy may help. Vision therapy is a program of eye exercises and other activities specifically tailored for each patient to improve their vision skills, including learning-related visual skills.
Learning-related vision problems are not the same thing as a learning disability. A child who is struggling in school could have a learning-related vision problem, a learning disability or both.
Vision therapy is a treatment for vision problems; it does not correct a learning disability. However, children with learning disabilities also may have vision problems that are contributing to their difficulties in the classroom.
For more information on children’s vision, visit All About Vision®.
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