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Georgia Optometrists & Educators Join Forces to Say School Checklist Should Include Eye Exam
 
ATLANTA -- (August 22, 2012) � Georgia�s children are back in school but thousands may have skipped a back to school tradition that will help them achieve learning success � a visit to the eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. After a summer spent out of the classroom, changes in vision quality that may have occurred during the summer will now be much more noticeable and require attention.
 
Due to the important link between vision and learning, Georgia�s educators and optometrists � members of the Georgia Association of Educators and Georgia Optometric Association � are joining forces to urge Georgia parents to make sure they schedule a comprehensive eye exam for their young learners.
 
�You can buy your child all of the best back to school supplies in the world but if they�re having trouble seeing in the classroom you�re not giving them access to the most important tool they need to succeed,� said Dr. Stuart Tasman, president of the Georgia Optometric Association. "As a practicing optometrist and parent, I strongly encourage parents of school age children to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for their child because it can easily detect problems like astigmatism, eye coordination and moderate amounts of farsightedness, conditions that can prevent optimal learning."
 
"Educators know that giving children access to all the tools they need for a positive learning experience is essential,� said Calvine Rollins, president of the Georgia Association of Educators. �If a child cannot properly see the board, computer screen or read text up close they are placed at a disadvantage. It is very important that a child's eyes are checked each year, especially in elementary and middle school when they are growing and changing so quickly, so they can play an active role in their own education."
 
According to a Vision Council of America study, one in four children has an undetected vision problem meaning comprehensive eye exams are one of the most important investments a parent can make to help maximize their child�s education and contribute to overall health and well-being.
 
Eye experts say the earlier a vision problem is detected and treated, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful. It is important to keep in mind that a school vision screening, while helpful, is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye examination. Vision screenings are not diagnostic and, consequently, do not necessarily lead to correction of problems. In reality, screenings only indicate a potential need for further care and they miss problems in many children.
 
Studies indicate that some children with undetected vision problems can be misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A national survey conducted by the American Optometric Association (AOA) revealed that 64 percent of teachers witnessed a direct improvement in a child's academic performance and/or classroom behavior after an eye or vision problem was diagnosed and treated.
 
Many experts believe that approximately 80 percent of learning comes through a child's eyes. Reading, writing and computer work are just a few of the tasks students are expected to perform daily that require visual skills. As classrooms adopt the use of more technologically advanced tools, such as interactive blackboard presentations, the dependence on adequate visual capabilities will increase.
 
If your child experiences any of the following, an optometrist should be consulted about a possible vision problem:
  • Loses place while reading
  • Avoids close work
  • Tends to rub eyes
  • Has headaches
  • Turns or tilts head
  • Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
  • Uses finger to maintain place when reading
  • Omits or confuses small words when reading
  • Consistently performs below potential
  • Struggles to complete homework
  • Squints while reading or watching television
  • Has behavioral problems
  • Holds reading material closer than normal
Early detection and treatment are key in correcting vision problems and helping children see clearly. The AOA recommends that a child's first eye assessment take place at six months of age. Comprehensive eye exams should be conducted beginning at age 3, before a child enters school, and then every two years, unless otherwise advised by an optometrist. In between exams, parents and teachers should monitor children for the more prevalent signs that a student's vision may be impaired.
 
For more information about the Georgia Optometric Association, or to a find a local doctor of optometry in your area, please visit www.GOAeyes.com.
 
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The Georgia Optometric Association is a statewide professional organization representing over 750 doctors of optometry located in communities throughout the state of Georgia. Founded in 1904, the GOA and its members work to provide the public with quality vision and eye care services. For more information visit www.GOAeyes.com, on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/jT7mJ3 or follow us on Twitter @GOA_eyes.
 
The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), a 501 (c) (6) non-profit association, is the most experienced and effective professional organization for teachers, administrators, and education support professionals within Georgia's public schools. GAE is an affiliate of the National Education Association. GAE provides representation within the state legislature and state agencies on educational issues, support for the rights of educators, professional development opportunities, and an extensive benefits package for its membership.


 

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