Research has shown that children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life. Studies converge on three key areas where impaired vision impacts children: life-long health, school performance, and emotional/social development. High-quality eye care can break down these barriers and help enable children to reach their highest potential.
This is why the work of Eye Care Charity of Mid-America is so important. Vision should be among the first skills evaluated when children enter school, because vision demands are so high and are the foundation for self-esteem as well as school success.
The impact of vision difficulties on learning
Vision is a fundamental part of the learning process. 80 percent of what children learn is acquired through the visual processing of information. Clear and comfortable vision is critical to ensure the ability of children to learn.
Nearly everything a child is asked to do in the classroom depends on good vision. The school environment requires a combination of far sight, near sight and eye-hand coordination, for example: reading, interpreting, and reproducing information from the chalkboard, reading on a computer, or completing deskwork.
Vision problems can have an adverse effect on comprehension and performance in reading and writing that constitute nearly all of a typical school day. This is why comprehensive eye exams, like the ones provided by Eye Care Charity of Mid-America, are so important. Early detection and treatment provide the very best opportunity to correct vision problems so children can learn.
Vision problems can impact emotional and social development
Children with visual impairment are at greater risk of developmental setback in their social development and integration. When vision problems are not detected early, they can negatively affect a child throughout his/her lifetime, potentially leading to anti-social or delinquent behavior.
Imagine the frustration that children with vision problems must feel in school when they cannot read and understand anything that is written or visual. Plus, they don’t know that their experience is not how the world actually appears. Left undiagnosed, these students act inappropriately or withdraw and cease to learn.
The link between eye health & juvenile delinquency
US researchers have been exploring the link between vision, learning disabilities, and juvenile delinquency since 1949 when a study found that 91 percent of juveniles in a Tennessee facility performed below grade level due to visually-related learning problems. A 1992 Oregon study
found that although 95 percent of first offenders tested had 20/20 visual acuity, almost half had significant learning related vision problems that had caused academic problems since early grades.
A recent US study found that more than 70 percent of juvenile offenders had undiagnosed vision problems. While there is no single simple solution to solve delinquency, optometric services as part of a multi-disciplinary approach has contributed to positive results on rates of recidivism.
Addressing the issue with proactive solutions
Eye Care Charity of Mid-America works to remove the barriers of access and expense that stand between too many children from low-income families and a bright future. Our Mobile Vision Clinic brings free eye exams and prescription glasses to low-income children at schools in the Greater St. Louis area. We are dedicated to helping children and parents learn about the importance of eye health and providing free eye care to St. Louis children who need it most.
· Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline Comprehensive Pediatric Eye And Vision Examination by the American Optometric Association
· Social, Emotional and Educational Consequences of Undetected Children's Vision Problems by Dr. Joel N. Zaba, M.A., O.D., Ltd.
· The Link Between Juvenile Delinquency and Reading Problems by Pat Wyman
· The Social And Economic Impact Of Poor Vision by the Vision Impact Institute