children’s vision


Back to School

School age children can experience unexpected and sudden changes in vision that may lead to behavioral and attention issues in the classroom. Make a comprehensive eye examination a priority for your child this year.

Some important health and safety tips for your child’s eyes:

  • Look for indicators of vision issues.    Common signals that your child may be experiencing a vision problem include covering one eye, holding reading materials close to the face, a short attention span and complaining of headaches or other discomfort.


  • Prevent eye strain by monitoring use of digital devices. Increased exposure to electronic devices in and out of the classroom can cause digital eyestrain, including burning or itchy eyes, headaches, blurred vision and exhaustion. The American Optometric Association recommends following the 20-20-20 rule (taking a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and looking at something at least 20 feet away), blinking frequently and adjusting your child’s computer screen to prevent glare can prevent discomfort.


  • Wear appropriate eye protection for sports and outdoor activities.  Well-fitting, protective eye wear and quality sunglasses that offer UV protection are also critical to maintaining key visual skills for sports and preventing injuries.


One in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem because changes in their eyesight go unrecognized by both the child and their parents. Include an eye exam on your back to school list. It may be the single most important investment you can make in your child’s education and overall health.



Good Vision and Learning

Vision is a dominant process in the growth, development and daily performance of children. Many children with undetected vision problems struggle in the classroom. Some symptoms of learning related vision problems are:

  • Trouble finishing written assignments
  • Losing ones place when reading
  • Having a short attention span when doing close work
  • Skipping words when reading
  • Making errors when copying from a classroom board
  • Having greater potential than grades may indicate (under-performing)

Vision problems can affect comprehension performance in reading and manifest as social, eye-hand coordination, discipline, or emotional problems. From there, such vision problems can impact the rest of your child’s life and ability to succeed.


What is Good Vision?

Back to school Visual Acuity: It’s important to realize that good vision is more than 20/20 eyesight, Invented in the 1860’s, the term 20/20 indicates if you can see letters 3/8″ high at 20 feet. This does not take into account the eyes’ ability to see books or view the computer screen.

Eye Health: Eye disease can impair vision or lead to vision loss if not diagnosed and treated.

Visual Integration: The ability to process and integrate visual information, which includes and coordinates input from our other senses and previous experiences so that we can understand what we see.

Eye Teaming: The ability of the eyes to work properly together.

Eye Focusing: The ability of the eyes to focus and shift focus to near and distant points easily and effortlessly.

Eye Motility or Tracking: The ability of the eyes to move together across a page of print, to directly view an object, to move from one viewing area to another, or follow a ball.

The good news if that with early diagnosis and appropriate, comprehensive intervention, the prognosis is good in a majority of cases. Schedule your child’s eye examination to make the most of the new school year.


Back-to School

Back to school

I know it’s tough to think about school starting in a few weeks. While you are scheduling immunizations, sports physicals and dental appointments, don’t forget the most important sense used in school – VISION.
Nearly 80% of learning is done through a child’s eyes. Reading, computer usage and whiteboard work are all visual tasks students perform everyday. A child’s eyes are always in use in the classroom. Therefore, when a child’s vision is not working properly learning and class participation will suffer.

Children with undetected vision problems are sometimes inaccurately diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When vision is difficult, it requires greater effort than normal causing the child to avoid close work.
Many children with undetected vision problems struggle in the classroom. Listed here are some of the behaviors associated with vision problems:

  • Trouble finishing written assignments
  • Losing his place when reading
  • A short attention span when doing close work
  • Skipping words when reading
  • Having greater potential than grades may indicate

Start the school year off right, schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child.



Computers and smartboards are common in today’s classrooms. As electronic devices transition between home and school, it’s clear that the use of these technologies is evolving from a trend to a necessity, even among the youngest students.

According to a study by the American Optometric Association (AOA), 41% of children have their own smartphone or tablet and 32 percent use both eBooks and textbooks at school. Additionally, 66 percent of children use a computer or tablet to do homework or study. With the consistent use of electronic devices throughout the day and evening, children of all ages can face a number of visual challenges.

Ongoing use of electronic devices won’t damage vision, but regular, lengthy use of technology at school or for homework can lead to a temporary vision condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of CVS can include eye strain, headaches, fatigue, burning or tired eyes, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain. The doctors at Westside Optometry recommend that students  rest their eyes by following the 20-20-20 rule. When using electronic devices or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.

One in four children have an undiagnosed vision problem simply because they may not recognize that their eyesight isn’t optimal or is changing. Comprehensive eye exams are one of the most important investments a parent can make to help maximize their child’s education and contribute to overall health and well-being, especially since some vision problems may not have warning signs. Unfortunately, parents often assume that if a child passes a school screening, their vision is fine.

Below are some symptoms that can indicate a child has a vision problem:

  • Squints while reading or watching television
  • Turns or tilts head or covers an eye
  • Consistently performs below potential or struggles to complete homework
  • Has behavioral problems

Call Westside Optometry (707)762-8643 to schedule an eye exam for your child.


Give your child every chance to see, learn and play

Did your child pass the vision screening administered at school last year? Did he see the acuity chart tacked to the door at the pediatrician’s office? Although these tests are helpful in spotting a few basic eye problems, they don’t take the place of a comprehensive eye examination.

Very often screening tests simply measure how well your child can see at a distance. Other vision concerns, such as farsightedness, lazy eye, crossed eyes, poor eye coordination, or poor depth perception may go undetected. Often children do not recognize these problems themselves because they have “always seen it this way.”

Parents and teachers may be puzzled about a child’s slow progress in school. For example, if a child is farsighted, he or she will see distant objects clearly, but may have problems focusing the eyes for close work. The same child who can read the eye chart easily at a distance may have a difficult time seeing words close up in a textbook or on a math worksheet. As a result, reading problems may develop that can affect the student’s learning and achievement.

A comprehensive eye examination includes measurements of the vision at distances far away which is important for seeing the board and playing sports and closer distances which are important for reading, computers and desk work. The exam also includes evaluation of how the eyes work together and the ocular health.

Success during the first few years of school can significantly impact your child’s confidence and success. If a child can’t focus, track (follow words on a page) and otherwise see properly, reading and development will be delayed making school a frustrating experience.

When scheduling back-to school appointments, don’t forget to include the eye doctor.