Students need complete eye exams before school

Mon, 07/27/2009 - 8:41am
By: The Citizen

Vision is a dominant process in the growth, development and daily performance of children. In fact, 80 percent of what students learn is through vision. And yet, 86 percent of all school-age children have not had a complete eye examination. Ever. The American Optometric Association has estimated that “60 percent of students identified as ‘problem learners’ have undetected vision problems, meaning that some could see improvement in their school work with a pair of glasses or contact lenses

“This could mean that thousands of school-aged children simply can’t see correctly,” said Dr. T. Matthew Brown from Visionary Eyecare of Fayetteville. “Parents and teachers need to know that with a complete eye examination, we can diagnose and begin treatment of many of these debilitating vision and eye health issues.”

Students with poor vision can be misdiagnosed as learning impaired, as having attention deficient disorder, or are just plain left behind from their peer group. And these kids don’t know that they can’t see what their friend sees, because they don’t know what normal vision is like.

It also means that many children, by the time they have that first examination, may have a condition, such as amblyopia or lazy eye, which now cannot be treated and is the leading cause of blindness. If they had had a complete eye examination earlier in their lives, the condition could have been easily corrected.

“We encourage parents to have children examined three times prior to starting school: at six months, three years and before starting kindergarten,” said Dr. Brown. “This monitors eye development and can prevent conditions that may be irreversible in later years.”

Teachers can help too by letting parents know the importance of eye examinations and the link between good vision and successful learning. Children need to have a complete eye examination where vision acuity, eye health and vision skills are measured. And they need to have these examinations at an early age.

Comprehensive vision examinations can only be conducted by an eye care professional with the specialized training needed to make a definitive diagnosis and prescribe treatment. Keep in mind that a vision screening, while a useful tool, is a limited process and cannot be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather to indicate a potential need for further evaluation.

Dr. Brown opened Visionary Eyecare in Aug. 2008 in the Summit Point shopping plaza at 840 Glynn St. S. He has been practicing optometry since graduating from Nova Southeastern University in 2002. He moved to Fayetteville in October of 2007. Dr. Brown is committed to serving the eyecare needs of his local community with emphasis in providing the finest care for the entire family. Dr. Brown specializes in contact lens fitting and treatment of eye diseases and injury. His optical offers a great selection of brand name frames, sunglasses, and contact lenses.

For more information contact Dr. Brown at Visionary Eyecare, 840 Glynn St. S. Suite 344, Fayetteville, Ga. 30214. 770-716-7414,

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