Today is the first day back to school for many children across the United States. Correct vision is crucial in today’s fast-paced classroom, and without it, learning will become increasingly difficult. Recent studies suggest vision problems affect as many as one in 20 preschoolers and one in four school-age children. Since many vision problems begin to develop at an early age, it is very important for parents to maintain a proactive role in securing proper eye care for their child. Untreated vision related issues can lead to more serious and complicated problems, as well as negatively impacting learning, personality and behavior.
Good vision is essential in a child’s physical and educational development. Parents should be prepared by ensuring regular vision and eye health screenings to allow for the detection and treatment of any eye problems, if they exist.
If your child often complains of headaches, tearing, holds items unusually close or far away to view them, or tilts his head to the side to read schoolwork, it could be indicative of a vision related problem. One must never assume their child has 20/20 vision just because they’ve never complained about it. Frequently, issues go undiagnosed as the child doesn’t realize that the world does not appear blurry to everyone else. The burden of responsibility here falls directly on the parents.
Amblyopia, or poor vision in an otherwise normal eye, commonly caused by crossed eyes or refractive differences, if left untreated can cause irreversible vision loss. The best time for detection and treatment of this is the preschool years. Effective treatment after 8 or 9 years of age is rarely achieved.
Strabismus, or misalignment of the eyes, can result in amblyopia if the eye is habitually misaligned. Early detection and treatment are crucial in correcting and restoring vision.
With a timely diagnosis, common refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, are all frequently corrected with proper corrective eyeglasses. Uncorrected refractive errors can cause amblyopia in some cases.
Ultimately, anexamination by your child’s ophthalmologist should be performed any time questions arise regarding eye health, regardless of the age of the child. As with many health issues, early detection and diagnosis of incorrect vision provides the best opportunity for effective treatment and correction. And the sooner poor vision is corrected for your child, the sooner they can enjoy a happy and healthy learning environment, free from vision related hindrances.