Vision is one of your baby’s most precious senses. Before birth, proper prenatal care and good nutrition are important for your baby’s developing eyes, as these are very complex and sophisticated organs. At birth, make sure your child’s eyes are examined for signs of congenital eye problems. These are not common but early detection can often make treatment more effective.
As your kid grows, 80% of what he will learn depends upon what he sees. A child must be able to see clearly and comfortably up close and from afar. Eye-hand coordination and depth perception are important for a young child to enable him to explore his environment and for safe play where he does most of his learning. And eventually proper visual development is important in reading, writing, and math. One in six children has a vision problem that could interfere with these skills.
Young kids with visual difficulties often do not realize it. They often accept what they see as normal because they could have been born that way thus have no basis for comparison. Or a slow degradation of their eye sight does not cause them to be alarmed and be aware of the problem yet. Moreover, a young child with limited vocabulary can not properly express his visual deficiencies and inconveniences.
If you have looked thru an unfocused camera lens, that is how a near-sighted kid sees the world. How can a student with this handicap figure out what is written on the blackboard. This situation can get the child frustrated and not pay attention. Good for a child who is outspoken, but the reality is that a lot of children are shy and could not think of bothering the teacher. Visual impairment can also cause low self-esteem as he could see his classmates able to see and copy notes and he is incapable of doing so. And resulting poor grades further aggravates his low self-image.
Nearsightedness is not the only visual problem a kid could have. He could be far sighted, being able to see objects clearly at a distance, but objects close to him look blurry. Therefore, looking at picture books, reading, writing, or doing other close works within arms reach do not appeal to him.
There are other visual disorders that may affect your child’s basic vision skills in terms of binocular coordination (the ability to blend separate images seen by each eye into one composite image), eye movement skills, focusing skills, peripheral awareness, and eye-hand coordination. Early detection of diseases and disorders in the visual system can be treated successfully, managed and prevented. Unchecked, a child with visual impairment could be mistaken for a child with limited abilities or misdiagnosed with having learning disabilities,
Everyday that your kid misses out in school because of an undetected eye problem sets him back in his learning. Dr. Nielson explains, “In the classroom, vision problems become a huge impediment to a child’s learning potential, and the longer it takes to detect a problem, the bigger the impact on the child’s school success and life.” Consider also the accompanying social and psychological costs to your child.
The Canadian Association of Optometrist says to be on the look out for these symptoms:
• Squints to see things at a distance
• Turns or tilts head favoring one eye
• Holds reading materials closer than normal
• Avoids doing close work
• Makes reversals when reading or writing
• Loses place when reading
• Needs finger to maintain place while reading
• Omits or confuses small words frequently when reading
• Tends to rub eyes
• Has headaches in forehead or temples
• Performs below his potential
But some eye disorders and diseases have no obvious symptoms. A problem can exist even if a child sees well. In addition to eye health, optometrists can detect serious general health conditions as well, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high-blood pressure and brain tumors. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential, therefore your child should have a complete visual assessment no later than age three as recommended by optometrists and annual check-ups throughout the school years, thereafter. And regardless of age, children with any signs of vision problems should be examined immediately.
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