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Back to School – another year of exploring and learning – and time for an eye check-up!

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The importance of good vision in learning is well known. But do you know that eighty percent of learning is based on vision. So with the kids starting yet another school year, the importance of having their eyes checked to ensure they have the requisite vision to see well cannot be understated. In school-aged kids, unrecognized vision problems are a major cause of learning difficulties. Kids who are merely having trouble with their vision can easily be labelled as having ADHD or a learning disability, while their true underlying issue remains untreated.  In fact, 60% of learning disabilities are thought to stem from undiagnosed eye problems.  Your child’s eyes are in constant use for a variety of complex visual tasks, between books, the blackboard, and computer screens.  A lot of stress is placed on those eyes, so make sure they are well equipped to tackle these tasks.  Kids won’t always be able to articulate the fact that they’re having trouble seeing, or they may not even realize that their eyesight is not the same as their peers.

What are some of the possible signs that your child is having vision problems?
– Rubbing eyes repeatedly or squinting eyes
– Look irritated or teary
– Headaches
– Holding reading material too close to his or her face
– Using a finger to maintain place while reading
– Performing below their potential

One of the more common eye conditions missed is amblyopia.  It affects up to 5 % of kids, and has as much to do with the brain as it does with the eye.  Images from the two eyes are so different that the brain can’t merge them into a single clear 3-D picture.  So the brain starts ignoring input from the weaker eye.  The earlier amblyopia is detected, the more quickly it responds to treatment and the less likely it is to become permanent.

Bringing your child to a Doctor of Optometry for a comprehensive exam is an excellent way to prevent your kid from slipping through the cracks.  The Eye See…Eye Learn (ESEL) program is entering its second year in Barrie.  This joint venture between the Ontario Association of Optometrists, the Government of Ontario and the Simcoe school boards, with the support of Nikon and the frame supplier OGI, provides comprehensive eye exam and a pair of glasses (if needed) free of charge to children enrolled in Junior Kindergarten.

Bottom line – unrecognized vision issues can significantly hamper your kid’s academic progress. Call Dr. Mei-Ling Chan’s optometry office in Barrie to book an eye appointment for your child.  Help your child see their full potential.

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