The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) celebrates World Sight Day on the second Thursday in October with the intention of raising public awareness of blindness and impaired vision. According to Helen Keller International, one in four adolescents in the United States suffers from common vision problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Without eye glasses to address these problems, children can have problems in school. Struggling students sometimes misbehave in class out of frustration and poor vision may even lead a child to drop out of school as a result of chronically poor academic performance.
The best way to battle visual impairment is preventive health. The American Optometric Association recommends that children age 6 through 18 receive eye examinations every two years; annually if they are considered at risk for the development of eye and vision problems.
While some parents may be concerned with the amount of technology that students interface with on a daily basis, Brisbane optometry professor, Nathan Efron does not consider computer screens harmful to eyes. He explains, “if you use [computers] a lot, you increase your risk of becoming slightly more short-sighted – where your eyes focus well only on close objects while more distant objects appear blurred. This is especially the case for children and young adults, whose eyes are still developing. But doing a lot of any close-up work – including reading – will have the same effect.”
What about those with unavoidable and/or irreparable impaired vision?
Approximately one-fifth of those battling blindness suffer from unavoidable visual impairment. Impaired vision can be a hindrance to the learning process but there are ways to help your child. After finding a school that will cater to and encourage your child, you can seek out additional support, such as families who share similar circumstances and learning tools such as K12’s Read Aloud Classics mobile app.
Will World Sight Day encourage you to make your vision heath a priority? The IAPB encourages all communities to become involved and spread awareness in the hopes of eradicating avoidable blindness. If you have a story about how you have been affected by vision impairment or want to give a shout of encouragement to others, please comment below.