Vision and Learning

Vision problems have a strong link with learning difficulties and educational outcomes. These problems can usually be managed or corrected by seeing an optometrist. Here at Innovative Eye Care we take an active interest in taking care of children's vision and raising awareness of this important aspect of a child's health.

60% of children who are ‘problem learners’ have been found to suffer from undetected vision problems. It is advised that all parents have their children’s eyes tested as part of the Children’s Vision Campaign.

Undetected vision problems are estimated to affect approximately one in four Australian children - or 600,000 nationally - which may contribute to learning difficulties in reading, writing, viewing a whiteboard, computer use and other classroom activities. A review undertaken as part of the National Children’s Vision Screening Project reported most children with academic or behavioural problems fail one or more visual tests.

Vision plays a significant part in the learning process of a child and as such, there is a definite link between vision impairment and educational outcomes. We all rely on good vision to see clearly. Vision problems can make learning difficult and stressful and prevent children from achieving their full potential. Parents and teachers should watch for signs that a child may have a vision problem, including avoidance of reading and writing, lower comprehension and short attention span. These are sometimes incorrectly suspected as the outcomes of learning disabilities such as dyslexia or attention deficits. Most importantly, the common vision problems among school-aged children can, with early detection, be easily managed or corrected by an optometrist.

Innovative Eye Care partner with KidsNetwork (www.kidsnetwork.com.au) who work with children to help them learn more effectively. Innovative Eye Care also participates in Children’s Vision Day each year, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of looking after the health of children’s eyes throughout their schooling. We enjoy visiting some of our local schools and talking to children about their eyes, as well as talking with their teachers and parents.

We recommend that children have a full eye examination with an optometrist before starting school and regularly thereafter. Eye examinations attract a Medicare rebate and no referral is required.

Signs that May Indicate your Child has a Vision Problem

  1. Skipping or re-reading lines
  2. Omitting or confusing words when reading
  3. Poor comprehension when reading
  4. Homework taking much longer than it should
  5. Short attention span with reading and school work

Other signs to Look Out For

  • One eye turns in or out while the other points straight ahead
  • Frequent blinking
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Covering or closing one eye
  • Holding a book very close to read
  • Squinting or sitting very close when watching television
  • Complaints of headaches
  • Complaints of blurred or double vision

Signs that May Indicate your Child has a Learning Difficulty

  • Avoids or doesn’t like learning tasks
  • Seems restless or easily distracted
  • Inconsistent behaviour patterns
  • Seems to have trouble following directions or routines
  • Learning development or understanding of new concepts seems to take longer than others
  • Slow recall of facts and reliance on memory
  • Consistent reading and spelling errors
  • Physical movements (associated with things like organisation or writing) seem ‘awkward