HealtH & Beauty By Julie Jacobs
A LOOk At ChiLdren’s eye heALth For children, good vision involves so much more than simply seeing well. Vision disorders are in fact the numberone handicapping condition among them. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), upward of 94% of children with reading difficulties have reduced visual skills, and approximately 20% of schoolaged children may be affected to some degree by learning-related vision disorders.
isual problems affecting eye focus, alignment and movement, for instance, often go undetected and can make learning hard and lead to other eye problems. Furthermore, children struggling with their vision often are misdiagnosed as having aDD/aDHD and are academically misplaced in the classroom. The american academy of Ophthalmology recommends that school-age children have a complete medical eye exam by their fourth birthday, and routine eye exams approximately every two years thereafter. In addition to the pediatrician’s office, eye exams can be obtained through community centers, school programs, health fairs, and volunteer organizations accessible through the website preventblindness.org. Parents can play a key role in uncovering eye disorders by keeping a watch on their kids for such signs as wandering or crossed eyes, squinting and disinterest in reading. The good news is that many sight deficiencies can be corrected through vision therapy—individualized, nonsurgical treatment that is typically administered by an optometrist. Short-term and goal-oriented, vision therapy addresses a child’s entire visual-motor system, which includes the brain’s ability to process what the eyes see. It incorporates the use of such tools as prisms, filters, lenses and com-