Eye exams focus student success

Published 1:51 am Friday, July 27, 2012

To visualize and achieve a great academic future, there is a key ability students need – the ability to see.

“All parents want to see their child do well in school, and most parents do all they can to provide them with the best education opportunities,” said Dr. Bill Tillman of Tillman Family Eye Care. “Too often one important learning tool may be overlooked – a child’s vision.”

Tillman said as much as 80 percent of the learning a child does occurs visually, or through the eyes, and stressed the need for annual eye exams.

Reading, writing, chalkboard work and using the computer are computer are among the visual tasks students perform daily, he said.

“A child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play,” he said. “When a child’s vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer.”

Tillman said as children progress in school, they face increasing demands on their visual abilities. The size of print in schoolbooks becomes smaller, and the amount of time spent reading and studying increases significantly, he said.

“Increased class work and homework place significant demands on a child’s eyes, and unfortunately, the visual abilities of some students aren’t performing up to task,” he said.

Tillman said when certain visual skills have not developed, or are poorly developed, learning becomes difficult, and children will typically:

• avoid reading and other near visual work as much as possible;

• attempt to do the work anyway, but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency; and/or,

• experience discomfort, fatigue and a short attention span.

Tillman said some children with learning difficulties exhibit specific behaviors of hyperactivity and distractibility, with some even labeled as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD

“However, undetected and untreated vision problems can elicit some of the very same signs and symptoms attributed to ADHD,” he said. “Due to these similarities, some children may be mislabeled as having ADHD, when, in fact, they have an undetected vision problem.”

Other signs a child may have a vision problem include:

• frequent eye rubbing or blinking;

• frequent headaches;

• covering one eye;

• holding reading material close to the face;

• an eye turning in or out;

• seeing double; and, or

• difficulty remembering what he or she read;

“A child may not tell you that they have a vision problem because they may think the way they see is the way everyone sees,” he said. “Vision changes can occur without your child or you noticing them. That’s why it’s important for a child to receive an eye examination once a year.

“The earlier a vision problem is detected and treated, the more likely the treatment will be successful,” he said.