New Study Proposed to Help Children With Undetected Vision Issues
Behavioral Optometrist, Dr. Juanita Collier , and Vision Therapy Coordinator, Corinne Williams , are spearheading a study to help school children overcome visual barriers to learning by:
-identifying children with potential visual issues early, because early detection and intervention are crucial to eliminating visual barriers to reading and learning.
-correcting these visual issues with glasses, behavioral changes, and/or optometric vision therapy to enable children to achieve their full academic potential.
Visual issues are often undetected because near vision is not tested at schools or the pediatrician's office. It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of learning occurs visually, and most learning occurs up close. Yet, standard school vision screenings only test for distance vision.
Dr. Collier, during a recent interview on the Better Connecticut show (on WFSB), stated, "when you think about reaction time, reading, sustaining clear vision at reading, taking notes from the board, and catching balls when you're playing sports, all of those things are a function of your visual system" and near vision. "However, most children aren't checked for near vision."
While most schools assume they have ruled out vision problems by performing cursory vision screenings, these screenings only detect approximately 5 percent of actual vision issues, according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. This results in many children with undetected visual difficulties being placed in Special Education.
"My team and I have seen several children in the Greater Hartford, Connecticut area, who had struggled for years before finding out they had convergence insufficiency (a very correctable, eye coordination problem)," states Dr. Collier. "When children struggle with reading and learning, it can cost their parents dearly in time, money, and frustration. In addition, there are significant costs to the schools when students have undiagnosed vision disorders."
As a behavioral optometrist, Dr. Collier is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of vision disorders. Behavioral or developmental optometrists have extensive post-graduate training in vision development. These eye doctors can diagnose and treat learning-related, vision disorders with a program of optometric vision therapy.
Collier and Williams are reaching out to parents, teachers, principals, school counselors, therapists and school nurses everywhere to join in this effort to help children with visual issues who struggle in schools. This will expectedly lead to decreased spending on already financially-strained, Special Education departments and allow education dollars to be reallocated.
Let's get children the vision care they need.
Join in this effort to increase awareness and eliminate visual barriers to learning and reading.