Tomorrow marks the first day of October, and the start of Children’s Vision Month (CVM). Children’s Vision Month is a time to focus on the importance of children’s eye health and how it relates to their overall health and well-being.
Vision is one of the most important components of learning, with studies showing that 80 percent of a child’s learning is based on vision. If a child’s vision and eye health is not in top form, neither will their ability to retain, learn and perform basic tasks. While vision based skills are more noticeable in the classroom and at school, they may be apparent in extracurricular activities as well. Keep an eye on the following activities your child may be participating in for clues that they may be experiencing a vision problem:
- Sports – Specific visual skills such as good depth perception, wide field of vision and effective hand-eye coordination are useful when participating in sports. Clues to a vision problem may be hitting the rim of a basketball hoop consistently, or a delayed swing at a baseball.
- Reading – Good vision is naturally required to read, and subtle clues may hint towards issues with vision. Watch for children losing their place while reading, or using a finger to track where they are on a page.
- Watching TV – While sitting too close to the TV cannot damage your eyes, it may be a sign that your child has a vision problem. Also watching while tilting the head or with one eye closed.
- Computer Use – Children often spend too much time in front of the computer, but avoiding the use of a computer because it’s causing eye discomfort may signal a larger issue.
Refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism are often the culprits for learning and skill development issues. However, there are also cases relating to more serious issues pertaining to a child’s overall health.
The only way to know for sure if your child has a vision or eye health problem, is to book regular comprehensive eye exams with a doctor of optometry. Infants should have their first appointment between six and nine months, again before five and annually thereafter.