Discovering Vision Therapy Blog

Why a Summer Eye Exam is so Critical for a Struggling Student

Posted by Greg Mischio

Summer Eye Exam

Summer is just around the corner (or at least that’s the rumor here in Wisconsin).  If you have a child who is a struggling student, the break from school will be welcome – but it shouldn’t be squandered. Use the summer months to schedule a Functional Vision Test.  It just might reveal why your child is struggling in school.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children between the ages of 6 to 18 years of age who are experiencing eye or vision problems (or at risk for a visual impairment) receive an annual exam.   

These eye or vision issues can include functional vision problems, which include issues with eye teaming, tracking and focusing.

Functional visual skills are based on your ability to see an object in space.  They include seeing a ball fly through the air, or following a line of text on a page.  Symptoms of functional vision problems that are often undetected include:

  • Short attention span
  • Excessive squinting, blinking and closing of one eye
  • Headaches in forehead or temple
  • Places head close to book when reading
  • Burning or itching eyes, reddened in appearance

(For a complete listing of symptoms of functional vision problems, click here.)  

Does your struggling student display any of these symptoms?  If so, why hasn’t your child’s teacher or doctor said anything about it?

Functional Vision Problems Occur Even with 20/20 Eyesight

Functional vision skills are different from “20/20” eyesight.  Eyesight refers to the ability to see the Snellen eye chart.  This is a standard eye test, but most of the time it doesn’t detect functional vision problems.

Developmental optometrists are trained to effectively test for the full range of functional vision problems.  Some of the skills a developmental optometrist tests for includes:

·  Eye Movement Control
·  Focus at Far
·  Sustaining Focus at Far
·  Focus at Near
·  Sustaining Focus at Near
·  Alignment at Far
·  Sustaining Alignment at Far
·  Alignment at Near
·  Sustaining Alignment at Near
·  Peripheral Vision
·  Depth Awareness
·  Color Perception
·  Gross Visual-Motor Skills
·  Fine Visual-Motor Skills
·  Visual Perception
·  Visual-Motor Integration

If you think your child might have a functional vision problem and may require this type of testing, a Functional Vision Test is highly recommended.  But why the urgency to book an appointment in the summer?

Don’t Let Your Child Start at a Disadvantage

Here’s the typical scenario for a student who has a functional vision problem.  

The student struggles through the school year, and breathes a sigh of relief at summer time.  Parents hope that a new school year will yield improvement, mainly because educators and doctors have not been able to pinpoint why their student continues to struggle.

The summer comes and goes, and the new school year begins.  The student is now taking more accelerated subjects, and more homework is required.  Instead of improvement, the situation gets worse.  The student falls further behind, and behavioral problems start to arise.

Finally, after desperation sets in, the parents find out about vision therapy and get a Functional Vision Test as a last resort.  If a functional vision problem is detected (which is generally the case), then therapy begins.  Typical vision therapy, which includes activities that improve a patient’s functional vision, can last 3-9 months.

This is why we encourage summer visits.  The sooner you can get your child started on correcting the functional vision problem, the less likely they are to fall behind in their schooling.  

By testing early in the summer, you can also start on vision therapy during the months they’re not in school.  Finding time for daily vision therapy can be difficult to balance with the books – the summer months provide much-appreciated extra time.

Summer Provides Time for Vision Therapy

The summer is almost upon us.  Enjoy the sun, enjoy the warmth, but don’t let an opportunity to help your struggling student pass you by.  Schedule a Functional Vision Test today.


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Topics: Learning-Related Vision Problems, Functional Vision, Functional Vision Test