How was your child’s first semester? Are you looking at report cards wondering if your child has an evil twin attending class in their place? Are you feeling like your child can do better than their grades show? Do you have a gut feeling that there is something holding your child back, but you don’t know what it is or where to start? You know your child best. If your gut says something is wrong, consider whether an undiagnosed vision issue could be affecting their school performance.
When children have difficulties in school, those can bubble over into other parts of their life. After all, children spend a majority of their day attending school. If they have difficulties in school it can affect their self-esteem. Low self-esteem is associated with all kinds of mental and physical health challenges from depression to obesity.
But what about vision? A child needs to be able to see the board, see the paper in front of them, and be able to look back and forth between the two regularly during the school day. What if a child has an undetected vision problem? Could a vision problem be behind some school performance issues?
Vision problems can be more than just lack of clarity, or lack of 20/20 vision. We talked a bit about these issues in our October blog. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development discusses some of the limitations of basic vision screening, the kind your child may be passing without issues year after year in school.
“The narrow scope of in-school vision screenings means that at least 50% of vision problems can go undetected,” says Dr. Barry Tannen, President of COVD. “Children whose vision problems are undiagnosed and untreated may suffer for years with headaches, poor reading comprehension, and even symptoms that can be misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD, being labeled as lazy or difficult by no fault of their own.”
So if you’re scratching your head trying to understand how your child is only getting so-so grades or being marked down for things you know he or she can do, have you considered having their vision tested?
Here at Clarendon Vision we can do not only a regular vision exam, but we routinely screen for functional eye issues. Functional vision refers to how the eyes work, not just how clearly they see. In a functional exam, a developmental optometrist will check not only how a child sees, but also how they use their eyes together to process information and put it to use. It’s possible for a child to have 20/20 vision but still have difficulties using both eyes together for binocular vision, or have trouble keeping both eyes aligned while reading from a book or the board.
Back to you and your child, are you concerned that your child’s school performance is a problem and wondering what else might be going on? Contact us today to set up an appointment for a vision exam, during which we will screen for functional eye issues and recommend additional testing or therapies as appropriate.
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