Back to School! Is Your Child’s Vision Ready?

Good vision is important at every stage in life, but it is especially important that your child see well in school. Vision problems can adversely affect your child’s achievement in school, during sports and play, and even in social situations. Clear vision also helps your child stay safe. Children need certain vision skills to get the most out of school, and a vision screening can help ensure that your child has good vision.

About 20 percent of children have refractive errors, a type of eye problem that causes blurry vision because the eye does not focus light correctly. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are common refractive errors. Nearsightedness means your child cannot clearly see faraway objects, while farsightedness means your child cannot see close up items, such as words on a page. Astigmatism causes blurry vision close up and far away so your child has trouble seeing at all distances.

Poor Vision Causes Problems In and Out of the Classroom

These conditions can prevent your child from seeing the chalkboard or computer screens well, which can prevent your child from learning all he or she can during class. Poor vision can cause poor eye-hand coordination and interfere with playground and sports activities – it is hard to catch a blurry ball or jump over a hurdle you cannot see! Even simple tasks, such as learning how to tie shoes or match socks, are more difficult with vision problems.

Vision problems can also affect a child’s social life. Poor vision can cause a child to miss visual cues, such as the facial expressions of others, during conversations. Inability to focus or see clearly can cause a child to squint, tilt his or her head to the side, or even invade another child’s personal space. These behaviors, in addition to poor performance in the classroom and during play, can lead to teasing, bullying, or being picked last for team activities. Having both poor vision and social problems at school can lead to low self-esteem, withdrawal and behavioral issues.

Poor vision can also lead to problems at home during the school year. Untreated vision problems can contribute to stress throughout the household because homework can take longer than it should and parents can become frustrated when the child “acts out” or lags behind.

Because vision problems often cause subtle symptoms, many parents do not realize their child has trouble seeing. The best way to make sure your child’s vision is ready for school, make an appointment with Lifetime Vision Center. Our team of skilled professionals aims to give every child we see the healthy vision they need for success in and out of the classroom.

Importance of Pediatric Eye Exams – Why Your Child Needs Them

Recently, our own Dr. Jeff Yunker was interviewed by KNOX Radio 1310. He discussed the importance of pediatric eye exams and why your child needs them. Here are some highlights of the show.

Staggering Statistics of Child Vision Needs

“Vision is an instrumental process in how a child develops,” said Dr. Yunker. “About one in five kids age 12 to 17 have difficulty seeing across the room.” This statistic is increasing with the proliferation of devices and the amount of time kids spend staring at screens. This actually increases nearsightedness, making it harder to see across the classroom. “Two thirds of kids under age six have never had an eye checkup or eye exam,” continued Dr. Yunker. “And 3 to 5% of kids have an undiagnosed lazy eye.”

What is a Lazy Eye?

Basically, a lazy eye is a condition where the two eyes aren’t working together. It creates a kind of monocular function that affects the occipital cortex of the brain. Left untreated, this condition becomes permanent, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it. It can be compared to pouring concrete, says, Dr. Yunker. “Concrete hardens up and you’re not going to change the shape and what happens by age seven is, developmentally the brain that transduces an electrical impulse that’s sent to the back of your eyes so your brain can interpret what you’re seeing, those cells are like poured concrete.”

Why Your Child Needs Professional Eye Exams

School eyesight screenings help, but they can miss up to 75% of learning related vision problems. It’s so important to get kids in as soon as they start school to have a professional eye exam. Doing so can help avoid falling grades and even subsequent behavioral problems. “75% of juvenile offenders had undiagnosed vision problems,” Dr. Yunker said. If those kids hadn’t experienced vision problems in school and had failing grades, maybe they wouldn’t have turned to negative behaviors.

If you have a school-aged child, please book an appointment now. Chances are your insurance will pay for preventative eye appointments. For help with your appointment or payment options, please contact us today.