The Importance of Childrens Vision Care
Good vision is essential to a child’s learning and reading performance. Often parents and teachers overlook a child’s vision problems as a cause of learning difficulties. Many school-age children may be inaccurately labeled as slow and unable to keep up in class because of correctable but undetected vision problems.
Early detection of vision problems is particularly important for primary and intermediate school children that are learning to read and write. After all, vision accounts for 80 percent of a child’s learning in the first 12 years of life.
One in six children aged 5 to 12 have vision performance problems that can lead to learning difficulties. The Snellen eye chart, traditionally used in school screening programmes, detects only 20-30 percent of vision problems in children. The test is distance vision acuity, the ability to see objects clearly at 6 metres. A child may “pass” this screening test and still have vision disorders that impair learning, such as problems with near-vision and binocular skills.
Early detection and correction of a vision problem is essential because 80% of the development of the vision system is complete by the age of eight. Some of the symptoms that may indicate a child is experiencing vision problems:
- Rubbing eyes repeatedly
- Dislike and avoidance of close work
- Holding head at an angle when looking at an object
- Shutting or covering one eye to focus
- Excessive blinking
- Holding books closely
- Using a finger as a place mark when reading
- Sitting too close to the television
- Developing red eyes
Most children with visual defects are unlikely to complain about their vision, thinking everyone else sees the same. Because of rapid growth and subsequent vision changes, we recommend that school age children should have their eyes examined annually to ensure that potential serious disorders are detected.