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National Children's Vision and Learning Month

As millions of parents get their children ready for the start of a new school year, The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) "August is Children's Vision and Learning Month" campaign is working to raise awareness about the important connection between vision and learning. Current research shows that vision problems afflict millions of American children, and that impacts their ability to learn.

Dr. Cache Crawford, O.D., of Premiere Eyecare Optometric Center says many eye conditions can often go undiagnosed by "vision screenings" done in the pediatrician's or school nurse's office, because they only check for adequate distance. They do not usually check for a child's near vision, eye alignment, eye tracking, and focusing ability.

Crawford recommends all children receive a comprehensive eye examination from an eyecare professional before they start school and every two years thereafter. If a vision problem is found, then he recommends an eye exam each year.

"Good vision has always played an integral part in the learning process for children. Good vision is not only clear vision, but also comfortable vision and comfortable eyes. Clear, comfortable vision is going to be vital for a young child as they learn to read, work on the computer, and participate in the classroom," says Crawford. "Reading the chalkboard has always been an issue with children in school, and now with the integration of technology such as "smart boards" and computers in the classroom, making sure they see clearly and comfortably without eye strain or fatigue is only going to become more important in a child's learning."

Things parents should look for:

Obvious signs: eye turn, squinting, closing one eye, turning or tilting head.

Less obvious signs: avoiding reading, losing place while reading, short attention span, eye strain and fatigue while reading.

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