Uncorrected hyperopia (farsightedness) may impact a child’s academic related performance, according to a recent study published in the February 2015 issue of “Optometry and Vision Science.”
The study simulated uncorrected hyperopia in children with an average age of 11 years old. Researchers looked at how the combination of uncorrected hyperopia and extended near work (reading/studying/writing) impacted the child’s performance in several key areas. The study was careful to use standardized and objective tests to measure the outcomes. In summary, the study concluded that uncorrected hyperopia combined with sustained near work had the following negative impacts: slower reading rate, poorer reading comprehension, and less accurate reading related eye movements. These detriments to reading related function may, in the end, have a negative impact on a child’s overall academic performance and achievement.
Dr. Jessica Lin, optometrist and co-owner of Coastal Vision, states “this study is important because it shows through very specific and standardized testing that if a child is hyperopic and not wearing glasses or contact lenses there could be a direct, negative impact on that child’s reading skills, comprehension, and academic performance. These are very important findings.”
“Another takeaway from this study,” adds Dr. Wang, optometrist and co-owner of Coastal Vision, “is that farsighted children may actually pass your standard vision chart screening at school and pediatrician and thus remain uncorrected.” Dr. Wang explains, “many farsighted children have the ability to over-focus and see 20/20 when checking their distance vision on a standard vision chart, so the basic vision screening will not adequately identify children who are hyperopic. While these types of vision screenings are helpful in some respects, they are absolutely not a replacement for a complete eye exam with an optometrist.”
Dr. Lin agrees, “this study is further evidence that all children, even if they pass vision screenings or do not express vision complaints, should be undergoing complete vision and eye health examinations with an optometrist. It’s during these visits that we can detect hyperopia and/or other visual performance related issues that may ultimately affect a child’s academic performance.”