When I was 8 years old, my teacher called my parents in for a conference. At that time, I was an eclectic mixture of reserved bookworm and mischievous tomboy. So my very active brain went into overdrive trying to figure out the reason for the summons. Was I in trouble? What had I done now?
The day arrived and we all sat around the teacher’s desk. “Mr. Callender, recently, Florence has been talking more often than usual,” Ms. Z. began. Then she turned to me and asked, “Why is that?”
Mumbling, I replied, “Weeellll, I was not really talking. I was just asking Mary what was written on the board, since I couldn’t see it clearly.”
“Hmmm, I see.”
The conversation then moved on to the teacher emphasizing the importance of getting me an appointment with the eye doctor, as soon as possible. Until then, I was moved to the front of the class.
Following my eye examination, the doctor told my parents that I would have to get a prescription for eye glasses since I had astigmatism (blurred vision). As much as I didn’t want to wear those “cat-eyes” things, what a difference those glasses made! Everything seemed clearer, brighter, and had more definition than before. And I got to return to my usual seat next to my friend.
Was my vision problem affecting my academic performance? Not yet, and thanks to an observant and pro-active teacher, it never did. It is important for parents to understand that the health of your child’s eyes, the way her vision develops and how her eyes are aligned are important for many areas, including educational development.
When you’re scheduling appointments for your children’s physical examinations, be sure to ask the pediatrician to conduct vision screenings. Babies who are born prematurely are more likely to develop vision difficulties. If you suspect a problem, don’t delay, take your child to a pediatric ophthalmologist. They have creative ways of conducting screenings even before the children can read.
If your child is struggling in school, the first thing to check is her vision. In fact, don’t wait until poor vision begins to show up in low grades. Make vision screening a part of your routine check-up.
Questions: Did you ever check your child’s vision and gotten results that left you extremely surprised? Have you had your child’s eyes checked, this school year?