When you have a student who dislikes reading, feels challenged by classroom activities, seems uncoordinated, or has a hard time socially, consider that they may have a vision problem. Too often, children identified by the school nurse as needing follow-up care don’t get it. You can help by communicating your concerns to the school nurse and reminding parents about the importance of eye exams and eyeglasses.
As educators, we know that to help your students succeed you try to see the world through their eyes. Unfortunately, many students are not able to see clearly.
Teachers want success for all students, and even though you work with children every day, it can be hard to know which children are having difficulty seeing. There are often no physical signs, and the child has no point of reference for good eyesight. Children with vision problems may not complain that it is hard to see, because they do not know what normal vision is. They think the way they see is the way everyone sees – even if it’s blurry. Unlike other chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes, which present as health emergencies, children with vision problems do not appear to be in distress, even when they are at risk of permanent vision loss or learning difficulties.
You are in a unique position to identify children with vision problems. Correcting these problems can improve a child’s classroom, social and athletic performance.
Teachers are a valuable resource in helping to identify students with vision issues. Common complaints and behaviors such as itchy eyes, headaches, blinking, or squinting can be symptoms of a vision problem; it’s critical that you alert the school nurse and the child’s parents if you see signs and symptoms that indicate the need for a comprehensive eye exam. When you have a student who dislikes reading; feels challenged by classroom activities; seems uncoordinated; or has a hard time socially, please consider their vision. Issues that present as personality traits or learning problems could actually be caused by poor vision. Too often, children identified by the school nurse as needing follow-up care don’t get it. You can help by communicating your concerns to the school nurse and reminding parents about the importance of eye exams and eyeglasses.
Help us accomplish our vision to assure that all children have the opportunity to develop their best possible vision.
Eyes That Thrive is a program to support school based care of prescribed vision treatment plans following the diagnosis of a vision condition. Treatment plans may include eyeglasses, eye patches, medication or monitoring.
Implementation of the Eyes that Thrive in School/Early Education Programs requires collaboration and commitment between families, eye doctors (optometrists and ophthalmologists), school nurses/health managers, educators and primary care providers.