October is children’s vision awareness month.
Did you know that :
80% of all learning during a child’s first 12 years is visually based.
25% of school age children have vision problems.
43% of children with vision problems can pass a vision screening test.
60% percent of children who struggle with reading and learning have vision problems,
Vision affects every aspect of a child’s development, from gross and fine motor skills to language. It also impacts a child’s learning, including reading, note taking, participation and paying attention in class.
It may surprise you that many children who have vision problems interfering with learning actually have 20/20 eye sight (with or without glasses). This is because 20/20 eyesight means you can see a certain size letter at a distance of 20 feet, whereas vision is a complex process that involves 17 visual skills, which are critical to academic success; and seeing 20/20 is just one of them.
One of these critical skills is binocular vision. Many binocular vision issues can develop with children who have 20/20 vision. These issues can manifest as children who don’t like to read, have trouble reading, or don’t pay attention in class.
Children have often been diagnosed with learning disabilities based on those symptoms when in fact they had binocular or other vision problems – NOT learning disorders.
A child should have their first eye exam around their first birthday. If no problems are detected during their first exam, the next exam should be around year 3, then year 5 (if no problems arise). A child will be scheduled to be seen more frequently if there are issues found during those examinations. After a child turns 5, eye exams should be done every year until the age of 18. As a child is growing, their eyes are also growing and changing the fastest. It is during these early childhood years that binocular vision issues can arise. The earlier the problem is detected, the better the outcome will be. Brain plasticity is much higher at younger ages so the earlier the treatment is started, the higher the success rate.
Comprehensive eye exams for all children to age 18 are completely covered by OHIP . Make sure your child is not held back from reaching their full potential due to an undiagnosed vision problem.