Now that school is underway, we want remind reminder both parents and teachers that good vision is imperative. A good education for children means good schools, good teachers and good vision. Your child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Our challenge is that your child is not likely to recognize the vision problem or report it.

Basic vision skills are needed for school. The first is near vision, which is the ability to see clearly at 10-13 inches. This is obviously important for reading, writing and close work at your student’s desk. Distance vision, or the ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach, and binocular coordination, or the ability to use both eyes together, are two additional vision skills needed for a successful school experience. Additionally, focusing skills, peripheral awareness and eye-hand coordination are also important.

If any of these skills are lacking or not functioning properly, your child will have to work harder. This can lead to headaches, fatigue and other eyestrain problems and eventually the student gives up. As a parent, be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem:

• Loses their place while reading
• Avoids close work
• Holds reading material closer than normal or further away than normal
• Tends to rub his or her eyes
• Has headaches
• Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
• Make frequent reversals when reading or writing
• Uses finger to maintain place when reading
• Omits or confuses small words when reading or
• Consistently performs below potential

Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Remember, school vision or pediatrician’s screenings are good, but they are not a substitute for a thorough eye examination. Call 205-949-2020 to schedule your child’s routine eye exam.

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