Uncorrected Farsightedness Linked to Literacy Deficits in Preschoolers
Sep 01, 2016 11:28AM
Approximately 4 to 14 percent of preschool children are farsighted. Farsightedness (hyperopia) means the child can see fine in the distance but has trouble seeing up close, specifically for activities such as reading. While some children may appear to see up close just fine even though they are farsighted, they are working extra hard. This can result in a variety of symptoms such as headaches or eyestrain.
The National Eye Institute funded a study which examined 492 children, between 4 and 5 years of age. They found that children with moderate hyperopia performed “significantly worse on the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) than their normal-vision peers.”
Simply put, if a child has a vision problem, it can make reading and learning difficult. Eye coordination and eye movement problems that impact academic performance require specialized testing to be detected. If a child is struggling with their early learning skills, it is recommended to make an appointment with a developmental vision specialist.
Routine vision screenings at school and the pediatrician’s office are cursory tests which do not check for eye coordination or eye movement disorders, nor do they test vision at reading distance. The most important thing for parents to understand is that children don’t know how they are supposed to see, so they rarely complain. The way they tell us they have a problem is with their behavior, so it is important to know the signs to watch for.