August is National Children's Vision & Learning Month. The goal of this national observance is to help educate parents and educators about the critical link between vision and learning.Vision problems are the 4th most prevalent class of disability in the United States and one of the most prevalent conditions in childhood. According to All About Vision, experts say that roughly 80 percent of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually. Seeing is our dominant sense and our primary source for gathering information in learning. Vision problems can have a profound effect on how children learn. Many kids who are struggling in school may have vision problems that are not detected during a typical school vision screening.
Some of the vision conditions commonly found in children are:
- Amblyopia:is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem and is not correctable with lenses. It can result from a failure to use both eyes together. Lazy eye is often associated with crossed-eyes or a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes. It usually develops before the age of 6, and it does not affect side vision. Symptoms may include noticeably favoring one eye or a tendency to bump into objects on one side.
- Strabismus: is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It is commonly known as crossed eyes. It occurs when an eye turns in, out, up or down and is usually caused by poor eye muscle control or a high amount of farsightedness.
- Refractive Errors: are vision conditions that affect how the eyes bend or “refract” light. Common refractive errors are: astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia).
It is important to know that a vision screening by a child's pediatrician or at his or her school is not the same as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist. Vision screenings are a limited process and can't be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather may indicate a potential need for further evaluation. They may miss as many as 60% of children with vision problems. Even if a vision screening does not identify a possible vision problem, a child may still have one. Parents should take their children for a thorough optometric examination to ensure that their children are developing their vision properly.