Vision and Learning
Many factors contribute to a child’s ability to achieve their academic potential. Good eyesight is key. It is estimated that vision accounts for as much as 80% of the learning process for a child. Reading, writing, chalkboard work, and computer use are among the visual tasks students perform daily. A child's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play, and his or her education as well as participation in extracurricular activities such as sports and the arts rely on healthy vision.
Grade level progression increases the demands on a child’s visual abilities. As the text size in schoolbooks decrease, the amount of time spent reading and studying increases. Class work and homework require strenuous effort on the part of a child’s eyes. A vision problem places a hurdle in the way of a student’s learning process.
When certain visual skills are not sufficiently developed, learning is difficult and stressful, often resulting in a child’s avoidance of reading and other up-close work. He or she may attempt such tasks with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency, and may experience discomfort, fatigue and a short attention span.
Some children with learning difficulties exhibit specific behaviors of hyperactivity and distractibility, and are often labeled as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A child with undetected and untreated vision problems may exhibit some of the same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to ADHD. Due to these similarities, misdiagnosis of a child with undetected vision problems as having ADHD can occur.
Vision may change frequently during the school years, further emphasizing the importance of regular eye and vision care. The most common vision problem is myopia (nearsightedness). However, some children have other forms of refractive error like hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. In addition, the existence of eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination problems may affect school and extracurricular performance.
Many vision problems can be corrected or assuaged by the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. A vision therapy program may also be needed to help develop or enhance visual skills.
Vision Skills Needed For School Success
Vision is more than seeing clearly, or having 20/20 eyesight. It is also the capacity to comprehend and process what is seen. Basic visual skills include the ability to use both eyes together as a team, move them effectively, and focus the eyes. Without these basic skills a child’s ability to achieve his or her true potential in the classroom is hindered.