For parents of struggling students, the summer is a welcome respite. But with school now only a month and a half away, there is one extremely important summertime activity that you shouldn’t forget - one that could help improve next year’s school performance.
It’s really quite simple, actually. You can schedule a Functional Vision Exam appointment for your child.
When we recommend a Functional Vision Exam, we typically hear the same response: “My eye doctor tested my child’s eyes. He/she said everything is fine.”
That may be true. The typical eye exam tends to focus on your eyesight. Optometrists will use a Snellen eye chart to determine your ability to see an object clearly from a certain distance.
But a Functional Vision Exam is different because it includes more than just your eyesight - it tests your vision as a whole. Functional vision involves your ability to see an object in space. It includes such visual skills as eye movements, eye teaming, eye focusing and depth perception.
These types of skills are not typically included in a school vision screening. That’s how these problems can be missed in struggling students.
Functional Vision Problem Unknown and Undetected
According to the American Optometric Association, 1 in 4 children has an undetected vision problem. Many involve functional vision problems, which are outside the parameters of typical screenings.
A functional vision problem may impact a student in the following ways:
* Inability to track words on a page, resulting in poor reading scores
* Difficulty copying material presented on the board by teacher
* Poor attention span due to inability to keep eyes focused
* Letter and/or number reversals (prints “b” instead of “d”)
* Difficulty processing information because so much effort is given to see clearly
The list goes on and on (in fact, we detail many of the symptoms here). Functional vision problems can affect writing, reading, math, spelling and/or sports.
That’s why your most important summertime activity is to schedule a Functional Vision Exam before the school year rolls around.
Either Get a Head Start or Play Catch-up
Why do this during summer? Shouldn’t you just wait until the school year rolls around and see how your child is doing?
It all depends on whether you want to get a head start on addressing a functional vision problem over the summertime, or play catch-up and scramble during the school year.
If a functional vision problem is detected, glasses and/or vision therapy will be recommended. The glasses differ from conventional prescriptions because they don’t just make things more clear, but more comfortable. Vision therapy uses optical devices and exercises to improve a person’s functional vision. You can learn more about vision therapy activities here.
Using the summertime to start vision therapy means your child will hopefully finish the treatment earlier during the school year, thus improving vision and allowing him/her to spend more time on schoolwork and less on vision therapy activities.
To learn more about functional vision problems, please download our Vision and Learning Guide!