Children need eye exams before starting school


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I’m writing to commend Gov. Chris Christie for recently declaring August “Children’s Vision and Learning Month” in New Jersey. The goal of this observance is to help educate parents and teachers about the critical link between good vision and effective learning.

It is that time of year again when we, as responsible parents, prepare our children for the upcoming school year. We purchase new clothes, new supplies and complete the mandatory physicals that are required for school.

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In addition to those steps, the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians encourages all parents to include a comprehensive eye exam in their plans. A well-vision check that goes beyond reading an eye chart on the wall can open doors for many children, particularly those who struggle with reading or completing homework assignments.    

When a child fails to progress in school, a serious learning disability or attention deficit disorder is frequently thought to blame. But the problem might be, in part, caused by a vision difficulty, not a learning one. In fact, most learning disabilities have a visual component from an uncorrected vision problem.

Children with undiagnosed, untreated vision problems — sometimes mislabeled lazy or learning disabled — can experience trouble focusing between a book or electronic device and the blackboard, or controlling or coordinating eye movements. In today’s digital classroom, a student must see well to not only keep up, but to excel.

Because studies show one in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem, early intervention is essential. Our children’s academic successes might well depend on their eyes.

Dr. George Veliky
Omni Eye Services
President, New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians

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