As the new school year begins, parents will start to receive progress reports and reports cards. And if your child is performing weakly in school, it could be something more than just poor test taking – it could be their vision.
Nine-year-old Isaac Koffman, was having trouble reading.
“Most of the time it was fine, but sometimes it, it would look a little bit blurry,” Isaac told FoxNewsHealth.com. “It looked like two words. So it kind of looked like a few words with the last few letters up in the air.”
Isaac’s mother, Laura Koffman, thought something was wrong when she noticed Isaac was squinting when he read the eye chart. And she didn’t listen to their pediatrician when he gave them a thumbs up on Isaac’s vision test. Her motherly instincts kicked in and she decided to take him for a comprehensive vision exam, which changed everything.
“We didn’t know that he was seeing double,” Koffman said. “His reading was slow; he would get headaches in school.”
Issac was given glasses to wear and now the future looks promising for him.
His mother said he is reading three books at a time, whizzing through math homework and even playing soccer. But some other children aren’t so fortunate.
Dr. Andrea Thau of the American Optometric Association said some children may have trouble seeing but their parents don’t even realize it.
“Studies show that 86 percent of children start school without ever having a vision examination and the American EYE-Q survey of 2008 showed that 65 percent of parents didn't take their children in for vision exam this year,” Thau said.
Thau said vision is the most important of the five senses when it comes to learning, and she is amazed that parents will skip out on a vision test.
“Children that come in who have been labeled as (having) learning problems, or not reading well, or not functioning well actually have vision problems, and once corrected, it enables that child to be the best they can be,” she added.
Often times children diagnosed with attention deficient disorder — or ADD — could have more of a vision problem than behavioral.
“ADD is associated with an eye problem called conversance and sufficiency, which is a problem coordinating the eyes, (and this) will manifest behaviors that look like ADD,” Thau said.
There are some things that parents should be on the lookout for when trying to figure out if their child’s performance in school could be corrected with a vision exam:
--Complaints of fatigue while reading
--Tilting of the head to see or read
--Losing their place while reading
--Sitting too close to the TV or computer
“Vision problems not only impact learning in school but they also have social, physical, and emotional development as well,” Thau said.
Thau said she is also seeing more near-sightedness in kids due to an increase in children who are using video games, TVs, hand-held gaming devices and computers. She recommended that kids take breaks from their gadgets every 20 seconds for 20 minutes of use.