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A Vision of Back-To-School

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The back to school season is in full swing, and parents and students have prepared themselves for all the new experiences that a brand new school year promises. Parents should know that good eyesight is one of the most important school supplies that every child should be equipped with as they enter the school year.

Dr. Ann Gallagher, of Eyes on 40 in Elicott City, Maryland explains, “Our sense of sight is the main way we interact and learn from the world. This is especially true of children, meaning that if your child does not have proper eyesight, he or she may find learning in school to be a chore beyond their abilities. This can cause your child to lose self esteem, and may result in your child growing increasingly frustrated about the process of learning.

Children are not likely to recognize vision problems or report them, and it is therefore the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.”

A few basic vision skills are needed for successful participation in school. Near vision is the first of these essential skills. This refers to the ability to see clearly at a distance of about 10-13 inches, which is important for reading, writing and other close work. Distance vision refers to the ability to see clearly and comfortably at distances beyond arm’s reach. This is important in order to see the board in the classroom, and for other activities at a further distance. Focusing skills, peripheral awareness and eye-hand coordination are also important.

A number of childhood conditions exist which can hinder your child's learning, but which can be effectively detected and treated in the course of a comprehensive eye exam.

If your child complains of headaches while he or she is doing visual tasks such as reading, exhibits a short attention span during visual tasks, and/or has to use a finger to guide reading, your child may suffer from a condition known as convergence insufficiency. With convergence insufficiency, the eyes have a hard time looking at the same exact point close up, without a great deal of effort. Besides the symptoms listed above, your child may also see the words seem to “jump” or “blur” when he or she attempts to read.

Many children also suffer from a common eye condition known as strabismus, which is characterized by your child's eyes not being properly coordinated, causing the eyes to face in different directions, and causing a number of serious visual issues. This condition results from muscles in one or both eyes being misaligned or underdeveloped. Dr. Gallagher adds, “Other symptoms may include difficulty remembering or identifying shapes, difficulty remembering what was read, excessive blinking or rubbing of his or her eyes, or placing his or her head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing.”

Your child's success in school is a serious matter, worth the utmost attention. Contact Dr. Gallagher today for more information, and to schedule your child's comprehensive eye exam.