Vision problems affect learning

Published 9:48 am Monday, September 29, 2008

By Staff
Millions of children begin each school year with a vision problem that may inhibit their ability to learn and ultimately affect the rest of their lives.
As parents send their children back to school, one of the most important things they can do to help ensure their child's ability to learn is to take them for an eye exam.
The American Optometric Association recommends comprehensive eye exams especially for children entering preschool and kindergarten.
Proper vision detection and correction in young children may affect much more than their ability to see clearly. Without a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist, many children have vision problems that can go undiagnosed, and may even be misdiagnosed as a learning disorder.
Dr. Carl McInnish of Brewton Eye Clinic said early exams are good ways to detect and avoid problems.
Children entering preschool or kindergarten benefit the most from comprehensive eye exams though they rarely receive them early enough. Currently, only 14 percent of children under age six have received a comprehensive eye exam, according to the U.S. Center for Health Statistics.
An eye exam will help correct common vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness as well as more serious conditions such as amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye. Amblyopia affects about 5 percent of children nationwide. The condition is completely treatable and preventable if detected within the first few years of life.
The back-to-school season is an ideal time for parents to take their child to an eye doctor for a comprehensive exam, particularly since much of what children learn is obtained through the eyes.