Back to School – Vision & Learning

Written By: Dr. Tina Goodhew

The importance of back to school eye exams

Summer is starting to wind down, and if you are a parent, you are likely preparing your kids for back to school. It is a busy time, as you are trying to get school supplies, new clothes and uniforms, and signing up for extracurricular activities for your little ones. One important item that should not be overlooked is your children’s vision. Have they had an eye exam yet?

Back to School Check ListWhile vision screenings are offered at many elementary schools, these screenings fail to identify many vision problems that impact learning. Studies have shown that 43% of children with vision problems can pass a school screening. These screenings test to see how well your child sees at a distance but visual skills such depth perception, eye coordination, tracking, and focusing are not assessed.

If any of these visual skills are lacking or impaired, your child will have to work harder to see, making it more difficult to maintain attention, or even causing headaches and fatigue. The increased visual demand from school work – especially as classrooms becoming increasingly digital –  may reveal vision problems that were not apparent during the summer months.  Children with vision disorders do not know that they have difficulty seeing; they often assume that the way they see is the way that everyone else around them sees. Seeing clearly and comfortably should be effortless so that they can focus on the task at hand. So often, we see children who are falling behind in school or misbehaving, and it’s not until their parents bring them to see an optometrist that they discover that it is due to an undiagnosed vision problem.

vision and learningIt has been shown that up to the age of 12 years, 80% of learning is done visually. Your child’s vision is far too important to be left to anyone but a licensed eye care provider. In addition to visual skills, optometrists also assess the eye health. Children should have their eyes examined by an optometrist once per year, starting at  6 months of age. If your child has not had a comprehensive eye exam or had their eyewear updated in the past 12 months, book an appointment with our dedicated vision care team at Abbey Eye Care. We offer a full complement of services and products for children, including glasses, contact lenses, prescription safety eyewear for sports, and prescription swim goggles.