Visual skills that children depend on for learning include near vision as well as distance vision, eye movement skills, focusing skills, peripheral awareness, color perception, and eye/hand coordination. According to the American Public Health Association, children depend 80% on eyesight for learning. When visual problems are present, children have a distinct disadvantage in learning. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent students from getting behind in school and also manage problems that could cause permanent vision loss.
Eye exams are very important because they not only reveal nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, but "lazy eye", misalignment of the eyes, and problems with focusing, depth perception, color perception, and coordination.
Experts recommend children have an eye exam at the age of 6 months, 3 years, and before beginning school. After that, children requiring no vision correction should have an exam every two years and those needing vision correction should be examined annually or according to their doctor's recommendation.
Greenspoint Texas State Optical at 365 Greens Road in Houston offers more information on eye health. Families in the Houston area who are ineligible for health insurance and cannot afford to pay for healthcare can turn to the Eye Care for Kids Foundation for children's free eye exams and glasses.