Fun fact: 80% of the sensory information that reaches our brain comes from our eyes.
With so much uncertainty as our kids, teens and young adults go back to school this fall, one thing is for sure… our eyes are remarkably important to learning. Not only does 80% of the information to our brain come from our eyes, but also 80% of learning is through our eyes.
Learning and behavioral disorders should not be impulsively assumed without investigating the full spectrum of eye health, especially since vision and eye health issues are not always obvious.
Children who can see well outside of class may still struggle with their vision while learning. Eye alignment, eye teaming, eye movement and coordination, eye focus and dry eyes all influence how we all visually perform.
Take this story, for example. A New York Times article published by Laura Novak in 2007 narrates about a young girl who was prescribed three medications for attention deficit disorder and depression only to find out later that she had been living with convergence insufficiency since birth.
Convergence insufficiency, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic, is a condition where your eyes are unable to work together when looking at nearby objects. It can cause difficulty reading, resulting in school-age children promptly deciding to close the book and take on a new task, making it understandable for a parent to conclude that attention deficit is the dilemma.
Parents and educators alike often assume that if our child passes a vision screening, they are ok. Vision screenings are not comprehensive eye exams.
Vision is a sense that is not always automatic. It develops in our formative years, between birth and eight years of age. Comprehensive eye exams can detect issues that once addressed, can have lifelong impacts. For school-aged children, the American Optometric Association recommends annual eye exams begin before 1st grade and are maintained each year thereafter.
Let's give our children the best chance at success! Make sure you get your child's annual eye health and vision exam checked off your list!