Why a School Eye Screening Isn’t Enough for Your Child

Why a School Eye Screening Isn’t Enough for Your Child

Current research shows that about 20 percent of school-aged children have undetected vision problems hindering their school performance. Considering a large majority of everything your child learns will be through their eyes, it is an understatement to say that healthy eyesight is crucial to the proper development of your child.

Children who are struggling with undetected vision problems often fail to progress well in school. That is why it is important to make professional, thorough eye health care a regular part of your child’s overall health maintenance program.

How does my child’s vision work?

Your child’s visual system has little to do with the manner in which they see. Rather, it involves the way he or she processes the information they have seen. Your child’s visual system is a complex process involving the combined effort of more than 20 visual abilities, and over 65 percent of all pathways to their brain.

Any problems in these areas can seriously affect your child’s ability to process information. Only a complete eye examination will uncover any visual system processing problems before they severely impair your child’s ability to learn and develop. There are three parts to your child’s vision and in order for them to learn properly, all parts of their must be working together and correctly.

The first part of your child’s vision is the condition of the eye. The condition of the eye pertains to eye health, visual acuity and refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

The second part is how well the eye is able to function. This refers to how well the eyes are able to focus and how they are able to move both as a team and individually. If your child’s eyes show error in these areas, they can experience double vision, eyestrain, headaches and difficulty paying attention.

The third part to this equation is your child’s visual perception. Visual perception consists of all that you see, how you are able to identify it and link it to previously stored information. In your child’s case it can be how well they are able to recognize words or pictures they have already seen or being able to make a mental picture of words they see.

Professionally test your child’s vision every year

Children should have their vision tested each year. A child doesn't know that having problems seeing across the room, seeing double, or not being able to focus on things up close, is abnormal. It is easy to confuse a school vision screening with an eye examination, but they are not the same thing.

School vision screenings simply determine how well your child sees an eye chart from 20 feet away. A screening may show that your child has 20/20 vision, but that tells you nothing about the health of their entire visual system, or how your child processes the information they receive visually.

A comprehensive examination performed by a Doctor of Optometry is the best way to diagnose and prevent vision learning disorders in your child.

About this Experts Contributor: Dr. Richard Malara has been providing personalized, professional care as an optometrist in Baldwinsville, New York since 1992. He is the owner of Malara Eyewear and Eyecare Gallery. You can follow this contributor on Google+.

As of September 11, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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