Poor vision can impact reading comprehension, performance in school and sports, and even cause frequent headaches. This can lead to frustration and work against a child’s academic success.
Cherie Oshiro-Johnson, OD, notes that children, especially young children may not realize they have vision problem and feel how they see is “normal”. But there are external signs that parents, guardians and teachers can look for that can mean a child is having vision difficulty.
“Eye crossing and eye wandering are easy to notice,” said Dr. Oshiro-Johnson. “Eye rubbing, excessive tearing, squinting or sometimes a child will get up and move closer to a board without realizing. They might complain of headaches when using their eyes, and they may have poor performance in school.”
Dr. Oshiro-Johnson also states that children with vision problems may do well in most academic areas but have trouble with reading. Dr. Oshiro-Johnson sees children from birth through adulthood, as well as children with special needs.
She recommends that children have an eye exam every year or two years, depending on the previous exam findings, especially in the younger years as they continue to grow and develop.
“Eye exams for children are very important to ensure your child's eyes are healthy and have no vision problems that could interfere with school performance and potentially affect your child's safety,” said Tina Gore, CPO, CMA, Optometry-Optical Supervisor. “We routinely screen vision to identify children who have vision problems or might be at risk for vision issues.”
All students enrolling in kindergarten, and any student from out of state enrolling for the first time in an Illinois public, private or parochial school must have an eye examination.
This eye exam requirement is separate from the annual vision screenings provided in all public, charter and private schools in Illinois. Submission of a required form is due by Oct. 15 of the current school year.
During an eye exam, the provider will take the child’s vision history, including tests like depth perception and color testing.
“We also check a child’s prescription for a refractive error to see if they need glasses or if the prescription they have is currently appropriate,” said Dr. Oshiro-Johnson. If the child has a binocular vision problem, eye strain, or a problem with their eyes working together, they may need a vision therapy assessment.
“Vision can effect children in many ways. Poor reading comprehension, poor school performance, headaches, and even sport performance can all be signs of vision issues,” said Gore. “Some vision problems, such as lazy eye, are best treated if they are detected and corrected as early as possible while the child's vision system is still developing.”
“It’s case by case, but when a child needs glasses, we see them a few weeks later to make sure their prescription is accurate.” Dr. Oshiro-Johnson shows her pediatric patients videos and offers toys to keep their attention where she needs it and to keep them comfortable.
Another type of testing, vision therapy assessment or visual processing, may determine if a child is having focusing or binocular vision problems aside from needing glasses, or is having difficulty processing what they see.
With frequent eye exams, parents ensure their children’s eye health and address any vision problems before they interfere with school performance.
To schedule an appointment or for more information, visit Carle.org or call (217) 902-3937.
Categories: Staying Healthy