Vision is a learned skill
Our ability to see is limited when we are born – we cannot use our eyes together, focus far or near, track smoothly and efficiently or understand what we see. These vital skills develop over time and if these skills do not develop normally they could substantially interfere with a child’s ability to learn.
Vision is a learned skill, developing along with other skills as a baby grows. Ideally our vision develops in an appropriate developmental sequence, but too often we just assume that by age 5 or 6 when a child starts school, he or she automatically has a healthy, developmentally ready visual system.
Most school and pediatrician visual screenings check for visual acuity alone and do not screen for visual skills including tracking, focusing, eye teaming or visual information processing skills.
The American Optometric Association guidelines for comprehensive vision examinations for children:
- Infants should receive a comprehensive baseline eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months, immediately after the critical period when the eye undergoes rapid and profound changes and is therefore most vulnerable to interference with normal development
- Preschoolers should receive at least one in-person, comprehensive eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5 to prevent or diagnose any condition that may have long-term effects
- School-aged children (6 to 18 years) should receive a comprehensive exam prior to entering the first grade and annually thereafter
“The fact that an infant must learn to walk and talk is fully accepted by everyone. It is most important to know that the infant must also learn to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste – the machinery for each is present, but he/she must learn to use it. ”
– How to Develop Your Child’s Intelligence by G.N.Getman, O.D
Movement and vision are interrelated
Developing good vision has to do with the types and varieties of experiences a child has. Today’s children are exposed to very different experiences in early childhood than they once were, and as a result many children have poor motor skills when they enter school.
Movement and vision are significantly interrelated. Children need to run more, jump, climb, throw, catch and ultimately play more to naturally develop good vision. If a child doesn’t have very rich experiences in any area of development it can seriously delay or hamper development in some or all other areas. Any developmental delay can affect a child’s ability to learn properly in school, play sports, socialize and later excel in their career. Think about how screen time might cause a delay in visual development!
The good news is that because vision is a learned skill, it can be taught and trained. Since 1982, Highline Center for Vision Performance has provided guidance for children with developmental delays to help build the skills necessary for them to reach their potential.
Call today to schedule an evaluation for your child of any age to see if their visual development is on target.