Early eye exam important for kids - WTNZ FOX 43 Knoxville, TN

Early eye exam important for kids

Nine-year old Vivianne Leigh is going through the paces during one of her weekly vision therapy sessions.  It was not until earlier this year that it became clear to her mother, Becky Byerly, that Vivianne's vision was playing a huge role in some of her academic and personal setbacks.
"Just watching her trying to keep up and being one step behind is really hard and you are doing everything that you know to do," says Byerly.
Optometrist Dr. Jennifer Smith says 80 percent of what your child learns is through their vision.
"One of the first things I would do as a parent is make sure they get in for a full developments eye exam," said Dr. Smith.
She says an important thing for parents to know is that just because a child passes a vision screening at school doesn't mean they're in the clear - she says most screenings at school are done from only 20 feet away and usually no testing is done with reading, or for up close work.
"In this area we are looking at how the two eyes team together. If they are not teaming together or focusing will be off that's when words move around on a page and it can become very difficult for these children to learn this information," said Dr. Smith.
That's something Byerly realized after her daughter continued to struggle even after eye surgery three years ago. "She just struggles especially in math - even simple stuff like two plus one, it was a real struggle."

Dr. Smith says there are some common signs that a vision problem may be hindering your child's ability to learn. Skipping lines, having to re-read lines, headaches, short attention span with reading as well as homework taking longer than it should. She adds, "Have their eyes checked - it should be part of the profile that they have an eye exam so they can be on the right foot.

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