As we do every year during back-to-school season, we recognize how important vision is for efficient learning. Vision is more than 20/20! For lots of information on this subject, going back to 2008, you can see some previous posts we have done here, here, and here.
Not only we do recognize this, Florida Governor Rick Scott does as well:
I am very pleased to share that Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued the Children’s Vision and Learning Month proclamation. August was first declared Vision & Learning Month in 1995 and now it is an anual tradition. The goal of this national observance is to help educate parents and educators about the critical link between vision and learning. Here is Governor Scott’s proclamation
For many parents in Florida, back to school means back to the search for answers to their children’s learning difficulties. While many parents are hopeful the new teacher will have a magic bullet, others are just as frustrated as when the previous school year ended. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” says Dr. David Damari, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), an organization that I am actively involved in. “Statistically more than 60% of children who struggle with reading have underlying vision problems contributing to their challenges.”
But it’s not the type of vision problem most people think of. Most of the children who have vision problems that interfere with reading and learning can actually see the letters on the eye chart just fine. So when parents are told their children have passed a vision screening, what they are really being told is that their child can see clearly far away. But the problem lies in what was not tested – how well the two eyes work together when reading, how they move on the page or track a line of print, to name a few of the 17 visual skills required for academic success.
It doesn’t really matter what the curriculum is or even what country you are in, when children have underlying vision problems contributing to their learning challenges, they continue to struggle until the vision problem is corrected.
“August is historically National Children’s Vision and Learning Month, but this year we decided to share stories from around the globe so people could see this is a global problem with a universal solution,” states Damari. As the new school year rounds the corner, August is the perfect time to make sure your child has all the visual skills required for academic success. For more information, visit covd.org.
All the best!
By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
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If you have tried to get an appointment recently, you may have noticed that August is a very busy month for us. And rightfully so. August is National Children’s Vision & Learning Month. I spend much of this month – and every month – helping children develop the visual skills they need to read and write. I routinely hear how after appropriate glasses and/or vision therapy, patients are reading better than ever, not fighting over homework, checking out books for fun, doing better in sports, and so many other achievements.
Here is one:
And you can find many more videos like this one at on YouTube.
If I’m not convincing enough, read these quotes from more well-known people and organizations.
- “25% of students in grades K-6 have visual problems that are serious enough to impede learning.” – American Public Health Association
- “When vision problems go undetected, children almost invariably have trouble reading and doing their schoolwork. They often display fatigue, fidgeting, and frustrations in the classroom—traits that can lead to a misdiagnosis of dyslexia or other learning disabilities.” – American Optometric Association
- “It is estimated that 80% of children with a learning disability have an undiagnosed vision problem.” – Vision Council of America
- “Early diagnosis and treatment of children’s vision problems is a necessary component to school readiness and academic learning; and that vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor. Comprehensive eye and vision examinations … are important for all children first entering school and regularly throughout their school-aged years to ensure healthy eyes and adequate visual skills essential for successful academic achievement.” – National PTA Policy Statement 2005,
- “Early testing for vision problems is key to preventing learning disabilities or, in some cases, significant visual impairment in children.” – Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, Task Force Chairman, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
- “A three year study of 540 children found that those children who had visual perceptual and eye movement difficulties did poorly on standardized tests.” – Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, FAAO, FCOVD,
You can find tons of information on vision and learning on COVD.org. I wholeheartedly encourage you to take part in Vision and Learning Month by reading and sharing your success stories on COVD’s Facebook page! And, of course, if your kids haven’t had their back to school exam yet, schedule one here or call us at 813-792-0637.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.