Uncorrected vision in kids linked to literacy problems
A new study, funded by the National Eye Institute and conducted in three different states, has shown that preschoolers with uncorrected hyperopia (farsightedness) perform significantly worse on early literacy tests than their four and 5-year-old peers with normal vision.
This study divided 492 participants into two groups: those with moderate hyperopia and those with normal vision. Those with uncorrected moderate hyperopia performed significantly worse on the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL), particularly in the portion of the test that assesses the ability to identify letters and written words.
“Prior studies have linked uncorrected hyperopia and reading ability in school-age children,” said Marjean Taylor Kulp, OD, MS, distinguished professor in the College of Optometry at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study, in a news release. “But large-scale investigations looking at reading readiness skills hadn’t been conducted in preschool children.”
According to the study, it is estimated that four to 14 percent of preschool children have moderate hyperopia, which often goes undiagnosed and untreated.
“In the state of Illinois, vision screening is required prior to starting kindergarten. However, starting screening earlier has allowed us to catch many children with unrecognized vision issues,” says Dr. Aaron Traeger, an Advocate Children’s Medical Group pediatrician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “This is another reason why your well-child visits are so important.”
The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus recommend that children ages three to five should receive a vision screening annually. These screenings can be done in a pediatrician’s office.
About the Author
Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.