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How Refractive Error Affects Education

 Temisan tried not to cry. Everyone was chattering happily because the bell for recess had gone and they were going to play. She had to stay back because she had gotten all her sums wrong again. Miss Bianca had frowned at her and it broke her little heart that the teacher was not pleased with her work. She strained her eyes again, looking at the figures on the worksheet. The figure was 3, she was sure it was. She added everything up and walked gaily to the teacher’s desk to turn in her work.

A few steps away from returning to her desk, her teacher yelled for her
‘Temisan, you didn’t get it right this time either!’
Temisan held her chest in fear and started to cry. She thought the figures were right, but she always got sums wrong, and sentences mixed up. She felt so sad and cried some more.
Later that evening, Eunice, her aunt was visiting and had been told how poor Temisan performed in school. A teacher for many years, she knew there was a relationship between vision and academic performance.
‘Her eyes, Zino. Has she ever had an eye test?’ she asked Temisan’s mom.
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Vision and learning are closely related. In fact, experts say that roughly 80 percent of what a child learns in school is presented visually. So, good vision is essential for students of all ages to reach their full academic potential. When children have difficulty in school — from learning to read to understanding fractions to seeing the board — it is believed these kids have vision problems. Any vision problems that have the potential to affect academic and reading performance are considered learning-related vision problems.
If you are concerned about your child's performance in school, you need to find out the underlying cause (or causes) of the problem. Identifying all contributing causes of the learning problem increases the chances that the problem can be successfully treated.
Symptoms of learning-related vision problems include:
  • Headaches or eye strain
  • Blurred vision
  • Crossed eyes or eyes that appear to move independently of each other
  • Dislike or avoidance of reading and close work
  • Short attention span during visual tasks
  • Turning or tilting the head to use one eye only, or closing or covering one eye
  • Placing the head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing
  • Excessive blinking or rubbing the eyes
  • Losing place while reading, or using a finger as a guide
  • Slow reading speed or poor reading comprehension
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
If your child shows one or more of these symptoms and is experiencing learning problems, it's possible he or she may have a learning-related vision problem.
To determine if such a problem exists, see an eye doctor who specializes in children's vision and learning-related vision problems for a comprehensive evaluation.