Test opens pathway to results
A child may need glasses
Lucy Howard’s journey from poor reader to star pupil started with a simple eye test, something many Kiwi parents are neglecting to do as the new school year approaches.
Educators are warning parents that undiagnosed vision problems amongst young children can lead to poor school results and low self esteem and are urging Kiwi parents to include an eye test for their children as part of their back to school preparations.
When six-year-old Lucy started school her parents weren’t too concerned that she seemed to be in the lower half of her class for reading. As her first year progressed and her reading level didn’t their concern increased.
A friend suggested they get Lucy’s eyes checked and the results were immediate.
Twelve months on and Lucy has just been awarded her school’s 2010 ‘Jack Oliver award for Effort’.
Her father, Martin Howard is keen to encourage other parents of children in their first years of school to get their eyes tested sooner rather than later.
‘‘The improvement we’ve seen is as much about her confidence socially as it has been about her academic improvement and this sets the foundation for her future school years. Luckily, with the introduction of Specsavers to New Zealand, the cost of children’s glasses has come down significantly so we don’t need to worry about losing glasses as she now has two pairs,’’ he said.
Short sightedness or Myopia, which is increasingly common amongst children, is one of the key reasons why many children find it hard to read the blackboard at school. The tell tale signs of Myopia are screwing up the eyes to see distant objects, difficulty reading the blackboard at school and sitting very close to the television.
‘‘Undiagnosed vision problems can be a real set-back for children starting school and can impact both their academic progress and their confidence, Lucy is a prime example,’’ said Faranak Saidi, year 2 Syndicate Leader, Cornwall Park District School, Auckland. Specsavers has put together some hints and tips on how parents can spot if their child may need glasses:
Squinting – If your child’s teacher says they frequently squint at the board, they may be trying to compensate for their poor vision.
Sitting too close to the television – Short-sighted children generally have clear vision at a close range and poor vision at a distance.
Rubbing eyes and headaches – If your child rubs their eyes excessively or complains of headaches regularly, it may mean they’re straining their eye muscles.
Reading problems – Children who frequently skip lines or lose their place while reading books may have vision associated problems.
LOOKING UP: An eye test may be the key to improving your child’s performance in school, as it was for Lucy Howard.