Table of Contents
Student vision is a crucial yet often ironically overlooked part of learning. Because of that, as a teacher, you are often one of the first people to notice vision problems in school-age children. For example, you may notice that a child is squinting when using the computer, or maybe a student suddenly hates reading. Complaints of headaches, trouble playing sports and declining grades are other signs you may see.
However, sometimes teachers can struggle telling parents that their child has a vision problem. You do not want to be the bearer of bad news, and parents don’t want to be told they missed a problem with their child.
So, how can you tell parents about a student’s vision problem?
If you suspect a student has a vision issue, tell their parents or guardians as soon as you can. You need to act quickly to make sure student vision problems do not affect learning and behavior.
A parent/teacher conference may be a good setting to have this conversation, but only rely on that event if it’s coming up soon. Otherwise, call the parents in for a brief talk. Speaking face-to-face is always the best way.
If that is not possible, talk to them on the phone or even through Zoom or school communication software.
But how do you start the conversation?
Once a meeting is set up, prepare yourself by having examples of the student’s vision problems. Tell the parents the problems and talk to them in a sensitive way. Remember, they may be mad at themselves for not noticing the issues. As a result, they may become defensive or even angry. Tell them what you have witnessed calmly and focus on the facts.
You should also ask if the student has had a vision screening or a comprehensive eye exam lately. Vision changes regularly during the ages of 6 to 18, and an eye exam can help find vision issues before they become a problem in the classroom. Unfortunately, almost 1 in 3 students in the United States have not had a vision screening in at least two years. School-aged children should have a complete eye exam every year.
Parents sometimes feel that a vision screening at school is enough. However, it’s important to explain to them that while school vision screenings have their purpose, they can sometimes miss student vision issues. They are not as thorough as those performed by an eye doctor.
Indeed, a comprehensive eye exam from an optometrist provides a better picture of a child’s overall eye health. The eye exam includes multiple tests to evaluate vision, and if the eye doctor finds a problem, they can offer ways to correct it (e.g., glasses).
As you explain your concerns and findings, be sure to communicate all of the student vision issues you have seen. Parents can then relay that information to their child’s eye doctor to help them gain insight and background on the situation.
Plus, talking to a student’s parents or guardians can help rule out other problems. For example, ADHD has many of the same symptoms as vision problems. So, if a thorough eye exam shows a need for vision correction, parents may not have to pursue other avenues.
Student vision resources in Oklahoma and beyond
Parents may think that an eye exam from an optometrist is too expensive. Luckily, Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma offers an affordable solution.
We provide pre-paid vision plans for comprehensive eye exams at specially negotiated rates. Patients can get the highest quality eye care with independent optometrists throughout Oklahoma and beyond without having to cut corners. Founded and owned by doctors, Vision Care Direct focuses on eye health, not on profits. Parents can also rely on Vizavance, a Vision Care Direct partner, as a resource. You can encourage parents in the OKC area to stop by the Vizavance office to get their child’s eyes screened by a state-certified professional.
Refer to Vision Care Direct and Vizavance to help encourage your parents or guardians to get their students the vision care they need to succeed in the classroom. Learn more.