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We’re less than a month away from the beginning of the school year for most children, and while that means shopping for school supplies and back-to-school clothes (as well as maybe fitting in one last family vacation), one area that you’ll want to make sure you don’t neglect is your child’s vision.
Healthy vision and the ability to effectively learn go hand-in-hand. If fact, when a child is experiencing difficulty in school, exhibits signs of a learning disorder or suddenly (or sometimes gradually) experiences a decline in grades, the first stop should be the eye doctor.
Since 80 percent of a child’s learning is visual, a child’s ability to clearly see the blackboard and the words on a page is critical. Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has declared August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness month in an effort to encourage parents to learn about ways they can help protect their child’s vision.
One in four school-age children and one in 20 pre-schoolers have some form of a vision problem. Sometimes the signs are immediately apparent, for example squinting, eyes crossing, holding objects near the face or sitting closer to the television than normal. In other instances, the problems may be less recognizable and require a thorough pediatric eye exam or at least a vision screening to identify.
Early detection and prompt treatment of ocular disorders in children is important to avoid lifelong visual impairment. It also can improve performance in school and reduce behavioral and learning problems.