What can Teachers do?
Detect vision problems: often the teacher is the first to notice visual difficulty.
Look for signs and symptoms such as:
- Complaints of blur
- Reduced comprehension
- Eye turning out or in
- Rubbing eyes
- Loss of place
- Eyes watering
- Covering one eye
- Getting close to the board
- Letters/words moving around
- Discomfort while reading
- Double Vision
- Holding work too close
- Headaches when reading
- Using finger to keep place
- Head movement when reading
- Skipping words
- Short attention span
Refer children that you suspect have problems: report the signs you observe to parents and suggest a comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor.
One of my students has new eyeglasses, what do I need to know? Glasses correct optical problems, some focusing and convergence problems. Find out WHY a child needs glasses and WHEN the glasses should be worn. If reluctant to wear the glasses, help child remember when to wear them and explain why they are helping.
What is 20/20 vision?
Eyesight is the ability to see objects and process the information the eyes send to the brain. The Snellen measurement is the clinical measurement of one's ability to read a standardized wall chart. Being able to see 20/20 means you can see a certain sized target or letter at 20 feet. Most people with normal sight can see 20/20.
If you have 20/30 vision, you have to have a chart at 20 feet that the average person can see if moved back to 30 feet. If you have 20/15 vision you have the ability to see a target at 20 feet which the average person can only see clearly if moved up to 15 feet.
Beyond 20/20: Efficiency vs. Perception
There is more to vision that just being able to see 20/20. The visual system is a complicated part of our brain that must be able to coordinate muscle movements and focusing between the two eyes and process all of the information sent from the eyes in the brain.
Vision can be affected by optical problems, efficiency problems and perceptual problems. All of the components must be working to the best level for optimal learning to take place. Vision is an extremely important part of the learning process in the classroom and can directly affect academic performance.
What are eye movements?
Eye movements are oculomotor skills needed to move eyes in smooth, accurate manner to efficiently see and process visual information. Important for tracking words when reading, copying from board to book and following a ball with the eyes.
What is eye focusing?
Eye focusing is the accommodative skill needed to clear near targets. This is important for reading, writing and computer work. Flexibility of the focusing system is important to allow relaxation of focus when looking out at distance and accommodation back at near distances.
What is eye coordination?
Eye coordination is the eye teaming skill that is necessary to converge (move eyes in together) or diverge (relax eyes apart) the eyes. This is important for depth perception and comfortable binocular vision.
What is visual perception?
Visual perception is the processing skill necessary to understand and utilize the information that the eyes send to the brain when "seeing". This is important for memory, balance, coordination, fine motor control, understanding written directions and reading comprehension.