When people think of problems children have, problems with their vision may not top the list of concerns. The problem with that is that many children do have issues with their vision. It has been estimated that about one-quarter of all kids between the ages of five and 15 has a problem with their vision, according to the National Commission on Vision andamp; Health. Moreover, these problems could have been treated if the children in question had the right screenings before they started school. This is one issue that is often addressed at health screenings at school.
Vision plays an important role in a child’s development physically. It also has a huge impact on their ability to succeed in school and contributes to their well being overall. When we are born, our vision centers are not finished with their development. For them to develop the way they should, the brain needs to receive input from both eyes. When kids are not able to see clearly, the vision centers in their brain are not able to develop normally and the results may be problems with their vision that cannot be corrected or fixed. The good news is that early testing, such as what is done in health screenings at school, can find and correct these issues early enough on to prevent any other problems.
There are a few times when vision and hearing screenings need to be conducted on infants and children. The first vision screening should be conducted soon after birth. Later testing needs to be repeated in kids throughout their infancy, once they enter preschool and then throughout their time in the school system. While these can be a part of the health screenings at school, they can also take place in the pediatrician’s office or by some other health care provider. There are often community health events geared at keeping kids’ eyes healthy.
The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology have put together guidelines for how often children should have their vision tested. They recommend kids get tested as newborns, infants and then throughout their years in school. The testing differs as the children grow
As children develop the ability to work with the health professional, their visual acuity can start to be tested. If there are issues that prevent them from following along with the instructions for the use of an eye chart, there are other ways to measure their visual acuity. One such method uses photoscreening in the place of the eye chart to get the same result.
Many issues with children at young ages do not require too much intervention but there are a few that do. When there is evidence that a child suffers from misaligned eyes, also called strabismus, problems with refraction or lazy eye, the child should be sent to be seen by an ophthalmologist. They can have more luck treating and helping children with these problems if they are consulted early.Trained specialists can differentiate between problems that should be watched and those that may need more immediate and serious intervention.
When kids are in school, there needs to be more screening. As kids go through school, their vision problems change from being far-sighted to being near-sighted. This is when most kids begin to wear glasses to improve their vision.
There are a lot of problems that can be caused by vision problems in children. If a child is unable to see the blackboard, they may miss out on a lot of the teaching and this can be registered as a learning disability when the problem is with their vision, not their ability to learn. They may also act out or cause other problems because of the problems they are having seeing the board. This may also show up as a lack of coordination when playing games or sports.
Health screenings at schools can be the first step many kids take to having strong and healthy eyes. It is important to make sure kids get the screenings and help they need to diagnose and treat any visual problems they may have. The sooner these are dealt with, the less they will impact the child’s long term development and well-being.