Class is back in session! There are many steps to preparing your student for another successful year. Thankfully, a vision test is checked off the list due to a screening performed at school…right? Maybe not.
We all know vision and learning are linked. Our eyes give us about 80 percent of the information we need to process new information. So while kids are in school, checking their eyesight becomes especially important.
A similar method is used in many school vision screenings. Typically a Gant chart (the lettered poster with the big ‘E’) is used to see if a child has issues making out objects from a distance.
But a simple distance vision test doesn’t give any information about other visual skills that could be affecting the way a child’s brain gets information.
While routine school vision screenings may appear helpful, they give parents a false sense of security as there are a range of vision problems that may be missed. Failing to evaluate the entire visual system of a child could leave them at a disadvantage in the classroom. Here are three visual skills that should also be assessed, to ensure your child has the tools for successful learning:
- Eye teaming: Also known as binocular fusion, is the eyes’ ability to stay aligned at the same point, at the same time. When eyes have trouble working together, this can cause double vision and loss of depth perception.
- Tracking: Otherwise known as ocular motor control. Troubles in this area cause eyes to jump around when we’re trying to move them in a straight line—like while we’re reading. This often caused readers’ eyes to skip around, missing words and even entire lines. They can also lose their place easily while reading.
- Focusing: Also known as accommodation, is the eyes’ ability to see clearly. Sometimes objects appear blurred only at certain distances, or are a struggle to remain in focus. Headaches can also be caused by a struggle to keep objects clear in our sight.
When these skills are functioning properly and smoothly, this offers higher levels of processing visual information. In other words, concepts are more easily understood for the learner.
Make sure your student gets an evaluation of their complete visual system. This will uncover potential difficulties with any of the above skills, and if one is found, help you plan treatment options.