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How Vision Affects Your Child’s Learning

kidglasses75-90% of learning in a classroom occurs through the visual system. If the visual system is not working
properly, this can seriously hinder a child trying to perform up to their potential.

80% of children who are reading disabled, including dyslexics, have vision problems which can be solved.

25% of ALL children have a vision problem significant enough to affect their performance in school.

95% of first grade non-readers have significant vision problems. They have nearly 2.5 times more visual problems than first grade high achievers.

**Statistics courtesy of visionandlearning.org

Like most parents, you probably take your child in for an annual health exam with his or her pediatrician. What many parents are unaware of is that the physician’s eye check generally looks for obvious physical abnormalities and eye diseases, but often does not thoroughly examine your child’s visual performance and development. Many schools even perform an eye screening. However, this screening is generally a distance eye test. Many children with visual insufficiencies at a reading proximity can pass this test, and thereby go unnoticed.

A thorough eye exam performed by your child’s eye doctor is critical to ensuring proper function of the visual system and allowing any abnormalities to be caught and corrected early on – before permanent visual deficiencies occur.

Did you know that vision is a learned process and has milestones in development, just as your child achieves physical milestones that track development as they grow? Your infant’s visual development begins right away and has the most significant changes between 6 months and 1 year of age. These developmental signs are often unseen and undetected by parents, and even pediatricians. This is why an exam with an eye doctor is so important!

Poor vision can worsen in time and without treatment, especially in the case of amblyopia. Amblyopia is a term used to describe the reduction of vision in one of the eyes due to the brain and eye not working together correctly. The physical eye may look normal, but is not operating normally in conjunction with the brain processes. Amblyopia can be caused by one eye being covered, whether physically (by hair or lid issues, for example) or anatomically by a cataract. One of the more common causes of amblyopia is another condition called strabismus. Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes, turning inward or outward. Some common terms you may be familiar with are: lazy eye (amblyopia) and crossed eyes (strabismus).

Another common cause is related to focusing. If one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic, it can result in amblyopia. A long term effect of untreated amblyopia is the loss of vision or permanent blindness in the weaker eye. An eye doctor can detect the early signs of amblyopia, which is notably a leading cause of vision loss. Early and regular eye exams can prevent or reverse amblyopia, especially when treated in the early years of childhood.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) has set the following guidelines of frequency for pediatric eye exams:

Asymptomatic/Risk Free Children:

  • At 6 months of age
  • At 3 years of age
  • Before 1st grade and every 2 years thereafter

At Risk Children:

  • By 6 months of age*
  • At 3 years of age*
  • Annually at 6 years of age and thereafter*

*Or as recommended by your child’s doctor.

Eyes For Life in Spokane, WA offers infant and pediatric eye exams with our experienced and understanding doctors. Our friendly staff will assist in ensuring a pleasant and calming environment for you and your child (children). At Eyes For Life, we want your child to feel safe and have fun! We even have a prize box, stickers and a child’s play area. Contact us for more information or to schedule your child’s eye exam today!

Patient Testimonial:

Oct 8, 2016 –

Great with kids. I greatly appreciate the friendly and patient staff helping my young daughter cope with her fear of the eye drops. She left happy and asking when she could come back. Thank you!” — Madeline P.   (Patient since 2016)

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.