*This post is sponsored by Belle Vue Specialty Eye Care.
If I take off my glasses, all I see is colors and vague shapes. Anything more than a foot away from my face isn’t clear, and it hasn’t been since I was about eleven years old.
Around that age, my older sister and I both had a drastic change in vision.
My sister’s vision is much worse than mine. One week she could see; the next, she was legally blind.
So, of course, I’ve been watching carefully to be sure my kids can see, but do you know what?
I wasn’t watching carefully enough.
Every year at their well check-ups, the pediatric nurse would have them read the eye chart on the wall, and they could do it so all was well, right?
Apparently, a vision screening with an optometrist ophthalmologist entails a bit more than the ability to see beyond the big “e.”
And, y’all, almost all my kids failed a few things I’ve never heard of before.
Like “eye tracking.”
I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but it’s actually pretty important and affects their ability to read.
To read, y’all.
Some of my kids have been struggling, and I didn’t even realize it.
But I do now, and we’ll be following up with comprehensive eye exams to determine how best to help them.
And, if we hadn’t stopped in Belle Vue Specialty Eye Care for a screening, I never would have known it. According to their website, “One in four children have undiagnosed eye problems which can interfere with learning and lead to academic and/or behavioral problems.”
The site goes on to say that some of the problems are misdiagnosed as ADHD or learning disabilities because some of the symptoms are similar. As a teacher, I see some of those symptoms daily:
- Confusion with similar words or letters
- Difficulty copying from whiteboard or book
- Short attention span while reading
- Difficulty keeping place while reading
- Slow reading or word-by-word reading
- Skips or rereads lines
- Difficulty remembering what has been read
- Reverses words or letters
- Rubs eyes during or after reading
- Tilts head to one side.
Have you ever noticed these behaviors in your kids? I know I have. (See the full list here.) And, I definitely see them in my students every day.
So what can we do about it?
First, as I said, we’ll be following up with comprehensive eye exams to determine what exactly, if any, problems the kids have. Some issues may be addressed through exercises or vision therapy; others may require glasses.
Either way, the goal will be to help our kids succeed by identifying any visual problems that may be standing in their way.
After all, according to Mississippi Optometric Association President Amy Crigler, OD, “Eighty percent of a student’s learning in a classroom is visual so good eyesight and visual skills are crucial.” (Source)
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Belle Vue Specialty Eye Care, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn about something that I didn’t realize was affecting my kids!