Parents: Check for Kids' Vision Problems

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Amber Griswold

The number one childhood handicap is undetected vision loss. That's why a back to school physical should include an eye exam. 

The American Optometric Association believes 60 percent of students identified as "problem learners" have undetected vision problems.
How do you know if your child falls into that category? Don't wait for them tip you off. Parents have to do some detective work.
Jessica Bunch is going to start 4th grade with an advantage she didn't have in 3rd grade.

She's going to be able to see the chalkboard. Last year, everything was blurry.

Newswatch asked Jessica if she told her parents.
She replied, "I didn't tell anybody."
C. Robert Taylor, O.D., explained, "The kids don't know that they can't see properly. They only know in their world that that's how things look."
The Vision Council of America stresses the importance of good vision for children especially at school, because 80 percent of what they learn is obtained visually.
But this year, about 10 million kids or one in four will be heading back to school with an undetected vision problem.
More than 40 percent of parents believe the simple exams given at schools are sufficient but VCA says such tests actually only detect about five percent of all vision problems.
The doctors at Eye Mart can do a more thorough evaluation. They recommend a check-up before kids enter kindergarten, and then every two years after that or sooner if they start performing poorly in school.
Other symptoms are trouble finishing written assignments, losing their place or skipping words when they're reading, or making mistakes when copying letters or numbers from a chalkboard.
For Jessica, it was her pediatrician who first discovered she should see a specialist for glasses.
Besides vision problems, doctors can detect conditions such as diabetes from changes in the tissue of eye.
So they're truly the window to your soul.