Did your child struggle in school this year? Is he still having trouble with reading? Do you want to make next year a better one? There may be an underlying vision problem that goes beyond just seeing 20/20 that most eye doctors, pediatricians or school nurses test for. Now is the time to make changes so that your child is ready for the start of school in September.
Recently, the School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision examined alarmingly high-rates of learning-related vision issues now plaguing America's children. Thirty national organizations took part in this meeting, including the American Federation of Teachers and the American Optometric Association. President Obama stated that: “millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs.”
Studies indicate that as much as 80 percent of learning is done through the eyes. Undetected and untreated eye and vision disorders in children, such as amblyopia and strabismus, can result in delayed reading and poor outcomes in school. In fact, a number of studies even indicate that visual factors are better predictors of academic success than race or socio-economic status. Eye health and eyeglass issues are only the basics. A learning based problem may require a special type of eye examination by a Developmental Optometrist, an individual qualified to uncover these often hidden problems.
Many eye disorders do not have obvious symptoms. Parents make the mistake of assuming that their children would tell them if they have a problem seeing. They often say “my child didn’t complain of headaches, double vision or things looking blurred”.
Most childhood vision problems can be prevented or treated effectively through early detection and follow-up care. Delayed diagnosis and treatment of vision problems in children can lead to vision loss, additional costly treatments, and missed learning and developmental opportunities.
The Summit produced a historic joint statement backing "comprehensive eye exams for school-aged children as a foundation for a coordinated and improved approach to addressing children's vision and eye health issues and as a key element of ensuring school readiness in American children."
For the first time ever, health and education leaders agree that in order to address persistent high-rates of learning-related vision problems in school-aged kids, comprehensive eye exams must serve as the foundation for a coordinated and improved approach. "Thanks to the School Readiness Summit, we're an important step closer to eliminating undiagnosed and untreated vision problems from America's schools, said AOA president-elect Dori Carlson, OD. "As a mom, family eye doctor and the incoming president of AOA, I'm proud of this gathering and its determination to lead the way toward doing more to ensure that our children reach their full potential, including recognizing the urgent need for regular comprehensive eye exams. Too many American children still go through years of school before a learning-related vision problem is ultimately detected; typically after many other more costly interventions," Dr. Carlson added.
Traditionally, parents, the U.S. educational system and some health care providers have heavily relied on vision screenings to help identify those kids in need of a comprehensive exam. While most vision screenings can catch some types of vision problems, they tend to miss upwards of 75 percent of children with a learning-related vision problem. Additionally, vision screenings do not treat any potential vision problems and do not ensure that kids will actually receive needed care. Some states mandate that children receive a comprehensive eye exam before school entry.
Dr. S. Moshe Roth, Optometric Physician, practices at Family Eye Care, in Old Bridge. He is Board Certified in Vision Development and Therapy. He sees patients of all ages, for treatment of eye diseases as well as for vision problems. Lic# 4635 OM# 27OM0005600. Dr. Roth is a popular speaker with parents and professional groups and may be reached at 1-732-679-2020.