"A comprehensive vision exam could be a top contributor to your child’s academic success in school. But don’t look to the schools to take the first step for you."

Did you know that vision is directly involved in attention to tasks, interpretation of words, sensory input regulation, social-emotional learning, developmental progress and delays, handwriting and other fine motor skills needed in a classroom?

Many parents overlook the critical impact vision has on brain development in children.

A comprehensive vision exam could be a top contributor to your child’s academic success in school. But don’t look to the schools to take the first step for you.

 Each year, some schools elect to provide a basic vision screening with an eye chart against a doorway down a hallway they deem to be long enough. The school’s nurse or other non-professional eye examiner determines the student can read well enough according to their interpretation of the state’s standards.  

No offense is intended towards school nurses, but they aren’t vision pros. 

No referral is made to an optometrist unless the child scores 20/40 or sometimes even as low as 20/50—a score which indicates “below average eyesight” and needing glasses. 

I spoke with Dr. Kelly De Simone of Eye Priority, located in Ahwatukee about her approach to vision in regards to children’s health and education. 

At Eye Priority, she specializes in vision therapy, a neuro-optometric treatment that resolves eye behaviors and enhances the eye-brain communication processes. She claims that vision therapy can change your child’s life.

“Those standards [for school vision screenings] were written before whiteboards and smartboards,” she explained, which “does not account for the amount of time kids are looking at screens within arm’s reach.”

She described how parents might spend several thousands of dollars on reading tutors, behavioral treatments, occupational therapy, medications and more, without consideration for what the eyes might be seeing in the first place.

It’s no longer a matter of if you can see, but how the brain uses that information which enables learning to occur. 

Parents, a 20/40 test is simply not good enough anymore. An in-depth pediatric vision assessment could be the answer your child needs to pass more than just an eye test this year.

If your child has an existing or suspected learning or behavioral problem, vision therapy could radically correct their symptoms.  It’s well past time to look into the future of our children’s eyes.

Janelle Molony, M.S.L., is a former occupational health & safety trainer, and a former K-12 teacher in Arizona. She is the author of

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