Table of Contents
As a teacher, you’re in a unique position to make observations. You might notice things parents miss, including symptoms linked to vision problems in your students. By reaching out to parents about vision care for children, you can improve a student’s chances of being successful academically.
What are the signs of vision problems in children?
Vision problems are fairly common in children. In fact, as of 2019, approximately 25% of children and teens between the ages of 2 and 17 wore glasses or contact lenses.
You might notice signs like fatigue, headaches or short attention spans in your classroom. A child who needs glasses will also often have difficulties with reading. They will usually struggle to keep their place and might not remember much about what they just read.
If a child can’t see properly, they will often hold books close to their face. You will probably see them rub their eyes or blink frequently too.
Refractive errors that cause blurry vision are frequent as well, and some children have an eye that is weaker than the other and need help strengthening it. Children with a weaker eye will sometimes cover it while reading.
Why do you notice vision problems at school?
You may wonder how you see vision problems clearly in the classroom while parents don’t seem to notice.
As the symptoms above suggest, vision problems make it difficult to read and write. Thus, children will usually avoid these activities at home because they cause them discomfort. However, parents might just assume that their child is simply not interested in reading.
Similarly, poor vision can get in the way of completing homework. Parents might chalk this problem up to their child being bored or too tired to focus. Plus, not all parents can supervise their children while they complete their homework due to their own work schedule.
In other words, as a teacher, you have a unique perspective of viewing students in an environment that parents may not get to see. That makes it all the more important to speak up when you do see a potential vision problem so parents can get their child the support they need.
Obstacles to getting vision care for children
Even though the Affordable Care Act includes a provision for making vision and dental care for children more accessible, there are still some gaps. Plans that were grandfathered into the program don’t have to include this type of coverage. Not all employers offer vision and dental coverage for children.
Some families can get plans via Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance program. However, not everyone falls below the income threshold to qualify.
As a result, parents often perceive vision care for children as being expensive. They think they will have to pay out of pocket for things like yearly exams and eyewear.
What you can do as a teacher
You can make a difference by watching out for common symptoms of vision problems in your classroom. Let parents know about the symptoms you observe.
Be understanding of their worries regarding the cost of vision care and inform them of the options available. Parents can find health and vision plans that include comprehensive eye exams for children and eyeglasses at an affordable cost.
Lastly, you should stress the importance of addressing vision issues early in a child’s life to guarantee their academic success.
Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma offers pre-paid vision plans with negotiated savings to help families reliably get access to eye exams and eyewear, including options for children. You can bring Vision Care Direct up as a resource when recommending that a parent gets their child’s eyes checked to help ease their cost concerns and show them a way forward to better eye health for their child.
Learn more about how we can help families in your classroom access vision care for children.