A vision impairment can impede a child’s growth, learning and development Lack of screenings It’s estimated that schools only provide four percent of the screenings required to detect all visual impairments in children. As a result, up to 75 percent of kids with vision problems are never tested. There’s also a lack of follow-through: of the 25 percent of children who are found to have eye problems, 61 percent never consult a doctor. In addition, standard acuity testing only catches a few of the vision problems children struggle with, which is why it’s important for them to take comprehensive vision tests. Serious consequences Young children often don’t report vision problems because they don’t know what the world around them is supposed to look like. Left untreated, these problems can seriously impede a child’s ability to follow lessons taught in class. The resulting poor academic performance can be mistaken for a sign of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). An ADHD diagnosis is typically treated with powerful drugs and can negatively impact a child’s self-esteem, making their school life difficult. Signs to look out for Parents and educators should be on the lookout for the following signs of vision impairment in children: • Frequent eye rubbing, blinking and headaches • A short attention span • A tendency to lose their place when reading • Needing to get very close to reading materials or televisions In addition to being on the lookout for these symptoms, parents should have their child take a comprehensive vision exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist every year, even if they show no signs of having vision problems. Early detection is key.
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