Vision is a dominant process in the growth, development and daily performance of children. In fact, EIGHTY PERCENT OF WHAT STUDENTS LEARN IS THROUGH VISION. And yet, 86 percent of all school-aged children have not had a complete eye examination. Ever.
"This could mean that thousands of school-aged children simply can't see correctly," said Dr. Hieu Vu-Gia from Associates In Eyecare of Oakton. "Parents and teachers need to know that with a complete eye examination, we can diagnose and begin treatment of many of these debilitating vision and eye health issues."
Students with poor vision can be misdiagnosed as learning impaired, as having attention deficient disorder, or are just plain left behind from their peer group. And these kids don't know that they can't see what their friend sees because they don't know what normal vision is like.
It also means many children, by the time they have that first examination, may have a condition, such as amblyopia or lazy eye, which now cannot be treated and is the leading cause of blindness. If they had had a complete eye examination earlier in their lives, the condition could have been easily corrected.
"We encourage parents to have children examined three times prior to starting school: at 6 months, 3 years and before starting kindergarten," said Dr. Vu-Gia. "This monitors eye development and can prevent conditions that may be irreversible in later years."
Teachers can help too by letting parents know the importance of eye examinations and the link between good vision and successful learning. Children need to have a complete eye examination where vision acuity, eye health and vision skills are measured. And they need to have these examinations at an early age.
Comprehensive vision examinations can only be conducted by an eye care professional with the specialized training needed to make a definitive diagnosis and prescribe treatment. Keep in mind that a vision screening, while a useful tool, is a limited process and cannot be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather to indicate a potential need for further evaluation.
Optometrist Dr. Hieu Vu-Gia has been serving the eye care needs of patients in Northern Virginia, for 16 years.