School-Aged Vision: 6 to 18 Years of Age

 The school years are a very important time in every child’s life. Too often one of the most important learning tools may be overlooked – a child’s vision. Some children with learning difficulties may exhibit specific behaviors of hyperactivity and distractability, these children are often labeled as having “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD). However, undetected and untreated vision problems can elicit some of the very same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to ADHD. Due to these similarities, some children may be mislabeled as having ADHD when in fact they have an undetected vision problem.

                                                                      

Vision is more than just the ability to see 20/20, it is also the ability to understand and respond to what is seen.

Every child needs to have the following vision skills for effective reading and learning:

  • Visual acuity — the ability to see clearly in the distance for viewing the chalkboard, at an intermediate distance for the computer, and up close for reading a book.
  • Eye Focusing — the ability to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision as the distance from objects change.
  • Eye tracking — the ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another.
  • Eye teaming — the ability to coordinate and use both eyes together when moving the eyes along a printed page,  judge distances and depth.
  • Eye-hand coordination — the ability to use visual information to monitor and direct the hands.
  • Visual perception — the ability to organize images on a printed page into letters, words, ideas, to understand and remember what is read.

 

If any of these visual skills are lacking it can lead to headaches, fatigue, and other eyestrain problems. Parents and teachers need to be alert for symptoms that may indicate a child has a vision problem. A child may not tell you that they have a vision problem because they may think that the way they see is the way everyone sees.

Your child should receive an eye examination at least once every two years-more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist, or if recommended by your eye doctor.