KIDS SEE: SUCCESS
Academic performance and children’s vision are inextricably linked. Experts cite that up to 80% of all learning occurs visually, leaving kids with poor vision at a major disadvantage. In 2016, the Vision Impact Institute, in partnership with Optometry Giving Sight and other organizations, created Kids See: Success, an initiative designed to advocate for eye exams for children before they enter kindergarten. Today, we are working in several states to ensure good policies for the future of children’s vision. To get in contact with us, reach out to Judith Williams from the Vision Impact Institute.
How Teachers Play a Role in Observing Poor Vision at School
Teachers often play a vital role in the vision health of their students. While 80% of a child’s learning happens through his or her eyes, more than 12.1 million school-age children in the U.S. have some form of vision problem. Poor vision in the classroom can lead to poor academic performance, lack of self-esteem, decreased socialization, and other outcomes. Together, we can give vision a voice for children around the world. View additional stories from parents and teachers.
- 1. Children Eye Health Examination Bill introduced in Pennsylvania House of Representative. HB 2118 sponsored by Rep. David H, Zimmerman and more than 30 bi-partisan co-sponsors was introduced December 10 and referred to the Committee on Education. The Bill proposes to amend the School Code to ensure school-age children receive an eye health examination upon admission to school in 4th, 8th grade and prior to students entering special education programs.
- 2. Asw. Lopez, Asw. McKnight, and Asm. Verelli re-introduced children eye exam bill in the New Jersey 2020 Legislature session. With the introduction of A1399, the primary sponsors, along with more than 20 co-sponsors, continue to support healthy vision for all children in New Jersey while reinforcing its connection to a child’s success in the classroom.
- 3. Pennsylvania plans to require eye health examinations at crucial points in children’s development. In Pennsylvania, 72,600 pre-school children, and up to 25% of children in grades K through 6 have vision disorders. The numbers are even higher in children at risk and special needs children. By identifying early those children who are having problems learning due to vision deficits, the legislation will result in significant savings to school districts since the number of students placed in special education programs will decrease.
- 4. New Jersey Governor Conditionally Vetos Bill Requiring Eye Exams for All Children. New Jersey’s Governor, Phil Murphy, has conditionally vetoed SB2804, opting to reduce the requirement to vision screenings instead of comprehensive eye exams. While we are disappointed in the governor’s decision we are also very optimistic that with the work of partners, collaborators and vision advocates, we will continue to see others take on the fight for the vision health and education of kids across the country. Read more in our opinion piece on nj.com.
How Parents Play a Role in Observing Poor Vision at Home
Parents play an immensely critical role in the vision health of their children. Parents must be vigilant about noticing signs of vision problems at home and be proactive about communicating those signs with their children’s teachers.
What Parents Need to Know
When parents suspect that their child can’t see well it’s important to have their eyes checked by an optometrist or ophthalmologist who can perform a comprehensive eye exam. Read more here to learn why children’s eye exams are important, when to have your child’s eyes examined, how to schedule eye exams for your child and more.
Children’s Vision Exam Policies in the United States
- States with Comprehensive Eye Exams Policies for Children
- States Proposing Children’s Vision Policies for Eye Exam Legislations or with mandates/recommendations for eye exams after failed vision screenings
Because good vision is an essential part of a child’s learning, it is important for children to have a comprehensive eye exam to detect possible vision problems early and provide adequate treatment. While many states have vision screenings programs, research shows that these vision screenings are not enough to diagnose all vision problems and eye health issues. Many states do strongly encourage parents to ensure their children receive a full eye exam before they enter school for the first time.