Poor Eyesight Can Lead To Bad Grades

More than 10 million children (one in four) in the United States will go back to school this fall with an undetected vision problem that can interfere with learning. Despite this disturbing figure, a survey released today by the Vision Council of America (VCA) found that only 6% of parents recognize that vision problems can lead to difficulties in school.

Nearly 80% of what a child learns is obtained visually. Research indicates that 70% of the 2 million school-age children who have difficulty in reading have some form of visual impairment, such as ocular motor, perceptual or binocular dysfunction.

"If a child is struggling in school, it is important that a parent consider his or her vision," said Dr. Joel Zaba, Virginia Beach optometrist and researcher. "While there are several reasons why a child may not perform well academically, it's clear that vision has a great impact on how much and/or how quickly a child learns. Children should not be sent to school without having all the proper tools ? paper, pencils, books and good vision."

Despite the compelling statistics, less than half of the parents surveyed by VCA had taken their child for a comprehensive eye exam in the past year. Forty-one percent of those polled believed that a simple vision screening was sufficient in detecting vision problems. Research shows, however, that the simple vision screening, commonly used by a pediatrician or a school nurse, detects only 5% of all vision problems. Simple vision screenings can offer early indications of problems relating to distance vision, but often screenings miss other critical vision deficiencies that can impact eye health and a child's performance in the classroom.