Having good vision is important for everyone, but in children it can have a particularly damaging effect if vision problems go undetected. This is because between the ages of 6 and 12, children may start to develop short-sightedness, or myopia. This can leave many children struggling to see the board or to see what the teacher is doing at the front of the class.
Many children at this age won’t recognise that there is something wrong with their vision, and it is likely they will struggle on without saying anything. This could have a huge impact on their performance at school.
How can poor eyesight affect academic performance?
If your child has begun to develop myopia, which can start anytime from 6 years old, it can cause a number of problems at school. Children may struggle to see the board at the front of the class, meaning they could miss key information that is vital to their educational progress.
Vision problems can lead to misdiagnosed problems with reading and counting, with many teachers believing the child is struggling, when in fact they just can’t see very clearly. However, in some cases, undiagnosed eye problems like myopia or astigmatism can actually hold back the development of literacy skills. After all, it’s much more difficult to learn to read if you can’t discriminate between letters clearly, or cannot see what the teacher is pointing to.
Vision problems in children can even go as far as to hinder their personality and social skills, which can impact their adjustment to school life.
What signs should you look out for?
Refractive errors, such as myopia and astigmatism, often emerge in children aged between 6 and 12. They may not always notice themselves if there has been a change in their vision, so it’s often down to parents or teachers to recognise if something isn’t right.
There are some signs that can indicate your child has a vision problem. If you notice a child sitting too close to the TV, holding their book or device very close, squinting, rubbing their eyes frequently or complaining of headaches, it may be that they have developed a refractive error.
How can glasses help the problem?
Wearing glasses is one of the simplest and most effective solutions to treat refractive errors, and there are specialist frames available to suit young children. Your local optician will be able to test your child’s eyes and diagnose any vision problems quickly. The NHS recommends that children go for an eye examination in their first year of school, before any problems with performance have chance to arise.
Approximately 10-15% of children fail their eyesight test, with a third not taken to the optician to fix the problem. This can have devastating effects on their vision as they grow up. One of the leading causes of blindness is uncorrected sight problems, including refractive errors.
By providing children with the right lenses for their needs, it can help to restore their enjoyment and development in school thanks to clearer eyesight; where previously they may have resented going to school because of vision struggles.
In some cases, wearing glasses for school can help to improve literacy and numerical skills. It is also important that teachers are aware of any vision problems in their classroom, in order to encourage children to wear their glasses.