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Unite For Sight: Eye Health for Teachers. <Insert Your Name> Community Fellow, <Insert University>. Vision Problems in an Academic Setting. Vision problems affect nearly 13.5 million children in the U.S.

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Unite For Sight:Eye Health for Teachers

<Insert Your Name>

Community Fellow, <Insert University>


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Vision Problems in an Academic Setting

  • Vision problems affect nearly 13.5 million children in the U.S.

  • Students, especially young ones, may not know that what they are experiencing is a vision problem

  • Leads to frustration and worsening academic performance


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Teachers’ Unique Position

  • Teachers are in a unique position to notice a child with a vision problem

    • See children for many hours a day

    • See children in an academic setting where visual acuity is required


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The Importance of Discovering Vision Problems Early

  • Discovering vision problems early on in a child’s life is an important part of helping him or her do well in school.

    • Avoid frustration

    • Make reading easier

    • Make learning more enjoyable

  • In the case of some vision conditions (covered later), early detection and treatment is the only way to prevent loss of sight in the afflicted eye


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How to Identify a Child in Need

The following may be indicative of a child experiencing a vision problem:

  • Eyes turning inward or outward

  • Squinting

  • Headaches

  • Worsening academic performance

  • Blurred or double vision

  • Losing place while reading

  • Avoiding close work

  • Holding reading material closer than normal

  • Rubbing eyes

  • Eyes tiring while reading or doing other schoolwork

  • Turning or tilting head to use one eye only

  • Making frequent reversals while reading or writing

  • Using finger to maintain place while reading

  • Consistently performing below potential


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How to Identify a Child in Need

  • If you notice a child struggling with any of these symptoms, he or she may be experiencing a vision problem

  • The next step is to make sure that child has an eye exam by an eye doctor


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Vision Screenings vs. Eye Exams

Eye Exams

  • Performed by optometrists or ophthalmologists

  • Thorough

  • Can detect many vision problems and/or eye disorders and diagnose them

  • Vision screenings

  • (insignificant)

    • Performed by non-specialist health staff

    • Provide baseline VA

    • Do not test for eye disorders, cannot provide diagnostic information


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Vision Screenings: Frequently Inaccurate

  • Test only distance visual acuity.

  • Fail to detect children who have reading problems, hyperopia, or astigmatism.

  • Vision screenings are subjective

    • A research study found that two school nurses matched on their vision screening results for only 86.4% of the students. Ore, L., Tamir, A., Stein, N., and Cohen-Dar, M. “Reliability of Vision Screening Tests for School Children.” Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 41.3 (2009): 250-259.


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Vision Screenings: Test Only Distance Visual Acuity

  • A study in New York City schools found that 41% of children who passed a distance visual acuity test still needed to be examined by an eye doctor for other reasons.

  • Screening solely for reduced visual acuity may miss up to 40% with potential vision problems.Bodack, M., Chung, I., and Krumholtz, I. “An Analysis of Vision Screening Data from New York City Public Schools.” Journal of the American Optometric Association. 81.9 (2010); 476-484.


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Children and Eyeglasses

  • Do not assume that children with eyeglasses have recently had an eye exam.

  • A research study found that 49% of eyeglass-wearing children failed a visual assessment. 28% of non-eyeglass-wearing children failed the visual assessment. “Children Unable to Perform Screening Tests in Vision in Preschoolers Study: Proportion with Ocular Conditions and Impact on Measures of Test Accuracy.” Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 48 (2007):83-87.


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Reading and Visual Skills

  • A research study was conducted in California high schools among students who were identified by their teachers as “poor readers”.

  • 17% of the students had deficient visual acuity (20/40 or worse in one eye)

  • 80% of the children were inadequate or weak in at least one of the following visual skills: binocular fusion ranges at near, accomodative facility, and convergence near point.

  • 80% of the students passed the visual acuity testing, but only 20% had adequate visual skills.Grisham, D., Powers, M., and Riles, P. “Visual skills of poor readers in high school.” Journal of the American Optometric Association. 78.10 (2007); 542-549.


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Getting Free Eye Exams

  • Visits to an eye doctor can be expensive

  • Not everyone has health insurance that covers the cost of eye exams

  • CHIP

    • Each state has the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which can cover the cost of eye exams for children of families that qualify

    • For information on your state’s program, go to www.insurekidsnow.gov

    • You can also call (877)-KIDS-NOW


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Getting Free Eye Exams

  • Vision USA

    • Through the American Optometric Association

    • Has its own requirements

    • Provides basic eye care services for those who are uninsured and do not qualify for government assistance

    • www.aoa.org/visionusa

    • (800)-766-4466


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Common Eye Disorders

  • Nearsightedness (myopia)

    • Most common visual problem among students

    • A type of refractive error

    • Close objects are clear

    • Far-away objects are blurry

    • Students may squint to see blackboard or presentation materials

    • Can be corrected with corrective lenses such as glasses or contact lenses


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Common Eye Disorders

  • Farsightedness (hyperopia)

    • Also a common visual problem among students

    • A type of refractive error

    • Close objects are blurry

    • Far-away objects are clear

    • Students may squint while reading or hold reading material farther away from face than normal

    • Can be corrected with corrective lenses such as glasses


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Common Eye Disorders

  • Astigmatism

    • Often co-occurs with nearsightedness or farsightedness

    • A type of refractive error caused by an abnormally shaped cornea

    • Can be corrected with corrective lenses such as glasses or contact lenses


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Common Eye Disorders

  • Strabismus

    • Issue with eye muscles

    • Student’s eyes appear to be focusing on two different points

    • Often co-occurs with amblyopia

    • Glasses or eye muscle exercises can treat strabismus. Sometimes surgery is needed.


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Common Eye Disorders

  • Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)

    • One eye is stronger than the other

    • Student may show signs of strabismus, but the two do not always co-occur

    • Over time, the brain may begin to disregard signals from the weaker eye

    • If it is not detected early, amblyopia can lead to a permanent loss of sight in the weaker eye

    • This disorder is only detectable through an eye exam from an optometrist or ophthalmologist


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Common Eye Disorders

  • Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

    • Common in schoolchildren

    • The conjunctiva (lining on eyelid and part of eyeball) become infected and inflamed

    • Highly contagious

    • Prescription eye drops can treat bacterial forms

    • Viral forms clear up on their own and cannot be treated, but sometimes eye drops are needed to relieve inflammation.


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Thank you!

Contact Me:

INSERT NAME

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