Yesterday I was examining young patients in the Pediatric Service at SUNY’s University Eye Center, along with 3rd and 4th year students. One of our patients was an 8 year old boy with complaints of blurred vision, difficulty focusing, and words moving around the page when reading. Although he was reading “on grade level,” he was struggling to keep up with his peers. Mom felt like he was always swimming upstream. Now in 3rd grade, it was becoming more difficult for him to maintain that effort. This child never had an eye examination. He passed every vision screening because his visual acuity was never worse than 20/40.
The examination revealed 5 diopters of uncorrected hyperopia. In order to see clearly, especially for reading, he had to make an extraordinary effort to focus his eyes and then sustain that effort. My student described this to mom with a wonderful analogy. Imagine running a marathon while carrying an extra 20 pounds on your back. By prescribing lenses, we are getting rid of the extra 20 pounds. Can you imagine how much better he is going to perform in that marathon (of schoolwork)? Can you imagine how much better he will perform in his LIFE if the simple act of seeing clearly no longer wears him down day after day?
I looked at my student and told him, “You are going to change a life today.” His response: “Yeah, I like that.”
Me too! I like that….. changing a child’s life by simply prescribing lenses. When I thought about it, I realized that optometrists all around the world are doing this every single day. It might not be as simple as prescribing lenses, but we are changing lives. But then I looked at it from another perspective. Can you also imagine how this child’s life might have been different if he had a comprehensive vision examination before entering kindergarten?
If your child is struggling in school, do not feel secure that it is NOT a vision problem because he/she passed a vision screening. Give that child the gift of a comprehensive vision examination. Do it today.
Read more about vision screenings here.
Read more about learning related vision problems here.