The National Eye Institute (NEI) recently completed a study showing that preschool children who suffer with vision problems that make it harder for them to see things up-close (hyperopia), perform significantly worse on literacy tests.
Part of the NEI’s overall “Vision in Preschooler” study compared 492 four- and five-year-old children with uncorrected hyperopia to their peers with normal vision. The study discovered that children with even moderate problems with their up-close vision did significantly worse on the standard Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) than the children with normal vision.
Aside from the obvious concerns, these results also suggest that an untreated vision problem in preschool can create problems that affect grade school readiness and success.
Test performance was most affected in ability to identify letters and words
These results are particularly meaningful because for many children, formal learning begins in the preschool. Other research studies have shown that early deficits in literacy are associated with future problems in learning to read and write.
Protecting your preschooler from undiagnosed vision problems
Often children as young as four and five years old haven’t had vision testing unless family, health care providers or caregivers have noticed an obvious problem. The good news is, in most children with hyperopia, the condition is mild and has little impact on vision or learning.
However, it’s estimated that four to 14% of children four to five years old have moderate hyperopia that often goes undetected, undiagnosed and untreated; and only a small number of preschool children have high hyperopia that’s been corrected with eyeglasses.
Early detection of these problems is important and possible
The VIP study has helped establish the most effective preschool vision screening tests, plus shown that well-trained non-professionals, such as volunteer parents, are able to effectively screen children.
Visit your trusted eye doctor
If your preschooler hasn’t had a vision exam, schedule an appointment today: (561) 338-7722. Annual eye exams should be part of the whole family’s health care routine, not only to make sure everyone is seeing properly, but also to help identify more serious problems while they’re most treatable.