“20/20 Isn’t Everything” is a new short video of particular interest to teachers and parents. The video, created by Ontario optometrists Dr. Schell and Dr. Maharaj, shows an experiment conducted with four teachers to simulate a variety of vision problems which may affect a child’s ability to learn. The teacher’s responses are revealing and insightful.
A child requires clear comfortable vision to learn in a classroom environment. It is thought that 80% of learning is visual. Two common misconceptions held by some parents is that if a child is able to see something small, or if they don’t complain about their vision then all should be fine. In fact one in six children has an eye or vision problem significant enough to affect learning. Unfortunately, many children do not receive a comprehensive eye examination before they enter their school years.
Four common vision problems affecting children are myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and binocular vision disorders. Myopia or nearsightedness blurs distance vision. This condition is the most readily understood and identified by parents.
Hyperopia or farsightedness causes a child to accommodate more than necessary to achieve clear vision. This can result in eyestrain, headaches, variable blurred vision especially at near and an inability to sustain clear focus.
Astigmatism can cause mild to significant blurring at far and near. Sometimes a child with astigmatism is able to see fairly small things if encouraged but it is not very comfortable.
Good binocular coordination of the eyes is important in sustaining comfortable vision. If the eyes are unable to comfortably maintain accurate alignment words may run together, a child may easily lose their place reading, or they may have double vision.
Of course there are other eye and vision problems that can affect learning such as anisometropia, accommodative disorders and many different eye structural anomalies or disease. A child may also have more than one disorder.
20/20, a measurement of visual acuity, is only one component of good vision. We certainly encourage parents to have their children’s eyes tested regularly beginning at the age of six months. ESEL is a great program targeting junior kindergarten students to have a comprehensive eye examination. Ensure that your child is seeing their best at school by booking a comprehensive eye examination soon.