A barrier to learning

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Back to school means back to taking tests. Optometrists say there’s one test every child needs — their annual eye exam.

“Good learning comes from good vision,” said Dr. Lisa Sandell, with Wichita Family Vision.

Kids are developing at a young age, and their eyes are constantly changing.

Dr. Sandell explained how kids are “good at adapting,” and might not realize they have a vision problem.

“That’s why we like to see them early, and often, so we can identify any problems before they get into school and it starts to affect their learning,” said Dr. Sandell.

Now that kids spend a lot of time on computers, iPhones and iPads, doctors have concerns about the screen time. Kids don’t blink enough, and it can strain the eyes.

“We don’t take breaks from them, we just continue to stare at them for long periods of time,” Dr. Sandell said. “We do see some concerns as the kids are on the screens more and more and more these days.”

Parents should not wait for their child to complain of a vision problem. It’s important to look out for the warning signs:

  • Frequent rubbing, blinking and squinting
  • Poor reading
  • Poor classroom performance
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering one eye or tilting head when reading
  • Holding reading material close to eyes

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), children should get their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months. InfantSEE is a statewide program that offers a no-cost eye and vision exam for infants within the first year of life regardless of a family’s income or access to insurance coverage.

Then children should have their eyes examined at three years old. Parents can schedule their three-year-old a free exam at a participating optometrist’s office through the See to Learn program.

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