Healthy vision plays a vital role in your child’s education. The ability to see the chalkboard clearly and comfortably read text in books is likely to make a happy and enthusiastic child. When a child cannot see properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer and there can be psychological implications as well.
Experts agree the following basic vision skills are essential for school-going children:
- The ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach.
- The ability to use both eyes together properly – also called binocular coordination.
- The ability to see clearly and comfortably at 10-13 inches.
- The ability to focus the eyes accurately on an object, shift them quickly and accurately from one object to another, and move them easily across a page are collectively known as eye movement skills.
- Focusing skills, which enable the child to keep both eyes accurately focused at the proper distance to see clearly and to change focus quickly.
- The ability to use the eyes and hands properly together – also known as eye-hand coordination.
- Peripheral awareness, which enables the child to be aware of things either side while looking straight ahead.
Should any of the above be lacking or malfunctioning, your child will be forced to work harder. This, naturally, can lead to headaches, fatigue and other eyestrain problems and vision conditions.
As a parent, you play an important part in detecting vision difficulties your child may be experiencing.
The following are warning signs and are indicative that your child should see an optometrist:
- Avoids close work.
- Seems to rub the eyes more than usual.
- Tilts or turns the head to use one eye only.
- Needs to use a finger while reading.
- Performs below potential at school.
- Loses place while reading.
- Holds reading matter too close.
- Complains of headaches.
- Frequently reverts back to what has already been read.
- Overlooks or mispronounces small words while reading.
Changes in your child’s vision can sometimes occur without you noticing them, so it is necessary to see your optometrist every two years to ensure it remains healthy and stable. Do not rely on a school vision or pediatrician screening.
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