School-Aged Vision: 6 to 18 Years of Age
A child needs many abilities to succeed in school and good vision is key.
Reading, writing, chalkboard work and using computers are among the visual tasks students perform daily. A child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. When his or her vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer.
As children progress throughout their education, they face increasing demands on their visual abilities. The size of print in textbooks becomes smaller and the amount of time spent reading and studying increases significantly. Increased workload and homework place significant demands on the child’s eyes and children depend on their vision to function properly so they can learn efficiently and excel.
Vision skills needed for school
Vision is more than just the ability to see clearly or having 20/20 eyesight. It is also the ability to understand and respond to what is seen. There are many basic visual skills beyond seeing clearly that are important to supporting academic success.
Every child needs to have the following vision skills for effective reading and learning:
- Visual acuity—the ability to see clearly in the distance for viewing the chalkboard, at an intermediate distance for the computer and up close for reading a book.
- Eye Focusing—the ability to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision as the distance from objects change, such as when looking from the chalkboard to a paper on the desk and back. Eye focusing allows the child to easily maintain clear vision over time like when reading a book or writing a report.
- Eye tracking—the ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another, moving the eyes along a printed page or following a moving object like a thrown ball.
- Eye teaming—the ability to coordinate and use both eyes together when moving the eyes along a printed page, and to be able to judge distances and see depth for classwork and sports.
- Eye-hand coordination—the ability to use visual information to monitor and direct the hands when drawing a picture or trying to hit a ball.
- Visual perception—the ability to organize images on a printed page into letters, words and ideas and to understand and remember what is read.
Other visual perceptual skills include:
- Recognition—the ability to tell the difference between letters like “b” and “d”.
- Comprehension—”picture” in the child’s mind what is happening in a story he/she is reading.
- Retention—remember and recall details of what we read.