At the beginning of the school year increases the visual effort that children have to perform every day: reading and writing, using the computer, studying ... It is estimated that between 5 and 10% of preschoolers and 25% of school children have visual problems such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism or strabismus, among others; In addition, myopia is a visual disorder that is increasing among students.

This, as the President of the General Council of Colleges of Opticians-Optometrists, Juan Carlos Martínez Moral, is mainly due to the fact that now children spend more and more time engaged in activities in which it is necessary to make a great effort of close vision, such as studying with the computer, playing with the console, watching television, or read. However, only one out of every four Spanish children of school age revises the vision at least once a year.

Between 5 and 10% of preschoolers and 25% of school children have visual problems such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism or strabismus

In many cases, the origin of what we know of school failure, and which is characterized by bad grades or lack of interest in the subjects, is in some visual defect that prevents them from following the rhythm of the classes, attending to the explanations of the blackboard , read quickly and comprehensively, and study comfortably, which implies a delay in learning.

Martinez Moral notes that almost 30% of cases of school failure is associated with visual problems of children, a fact unknown to most parents.

Early diagnostic

Since children, and especially younger children, do not usually complain about vision problems, it can be difficult to detect them. Dr. Fernando Llovet, Medical Director of the Baviera Clinic, warns that the smaller a child is, the more difficult it is to detect that he has a visual problem and that, for this reason, it is essential to monitor his eyes from the first months of life, everything when he starts watching TV or plays games or works at close range. Llovet explains that young children get used to seeing badly and that is why they do not realize that they have a visual problem, and it is adults who must remain attentive.

Martinez Moral remember the need to make visual revisions to the smallest and also evaluate their comprehensibility, and advises to take them to the optometrist's office at least once a year.

In addition to this annual review, parents and teachers should be aware of the signs that usually indicate the existence of visual problems in children, and that are detailed below:

  • He frowns, winks, or turns his head and neck to look from far or near.
  • His eyes get irritated when he writes or reads, he stings and rubs his eyelids frequently.
  • He frequently suffers from a headache.
  • As a result of a deficit in depth perception, it is easy to stumble.
  • Twist an eye
  • Make many mistakes when copying words from the board.
  • He has low reading comprehension for his age.
  • It has a sensitivity to excessive light (photophobia).
  • Try not to do activities that require good close-up vision, such as doing homework or reading, or far-sightedness, such as playing sports or games.
  • Tends to sit very close to the television or is very close to the books.

If your child has any of these symptoms, you should ask an optician-optometrist to perform a complete visual and ocular examination, since the early detection of visual dysfunctions is vital to establish a correct treatment.

What is the ocular revision?

For the sense of sight to develop properly, both eyes must work properly during childhood, so during the first years of childhood, the revisions will help rule out pathologies and some refractive errors that could later be irremediable. The eye does not mature completely until the age of five, therefore, it is a key stage to identify and correct possible anomalies. According to the experts of the Baviera Clinic, half of the eye deficiencies suffered by adults could have been prevented during childhood, hence the importance of early diagnosis of any visual disorder.

The optician-optometrist checks the different functions of the vision that intervene in learning:

  • View at short and long distance.
  • Visual acuity: it is evaluated at different distances, so that patients are able to read, distinguish the letters on the board correctly and use the computer without problems.
  • Accommodation: the eyes must be able to focus on an object and change the focus from one point to another, in such a way that the attention goes from the book to the waxing, and vice versa.
  • Visual alignment and ocular motility: so that a person can have an appropriate perception of depth it is necessary that the eye muscles converge and focus on the same object.
  • Binocular vision: it is necessary that both eyes are coordinated so that the brain manages to merge, in a single image, the images that each of them sends to him.
  • Eye movement: The child should follow the lines of a page properly and efficiently when reading, or copy information quickly and easily from a blackboard or a sheet.

Sources: General Council of Schools of Opticians-Optometrists and Baviera Clinic

Kid's Eye Exam in Alabama | Clinic for Vision (November 2019).