Poor Vision: The Invisible Problem

As parents, we take our children to the pediatrician and the dentist regularly for checkups. When was the last time your child had an eye exam?

Good vision for all

Many people think a lack of access to vision care is not something that happens here in the United States. You may be surprised to learn that an estimated 10 million children in this country need vision correction but many children don’t have a way to get an eye exam or eyeglasses. And nearly a quarter of parents don’t pursue vision exams for their children due to a lack of financial resources. Essilor Vision Foundation is working to change that. Every year, Essilor Vision Foundation provides education and resources through partnerships with charitable eye doctors, schools and other non-profit organizations:

  • Schools : The organization works with schools to bring awareness to the importance of good vision through educational programs for students, parents, and teachers. Essilor Vision Foundation also partners with school districts and nonprofits to provide eyeglasses for school-based health clinics.
  • Eye doctors : Essilor Vision Foundation supports eyecare professionals who are advocates for vision in their communities by providing them with low-cost resources.
  • Charities : Essilor Vision Foundation builds relationships and offers resources to charities that understand that the ability to see impacts a child’s ability to succeed.

Why your children need regular eye exams

It’s estimated that one in four children has a vision problem that affects their ability to learn. But unlike hunger or tooth decay, vision is an invisible problem—children often don’t even know their vision is impaired. To them, blurry eyesight is normal. They don’t know that not being able to see the board at the front of the classroom or being unable to focus when reading can be fixed, often with a pair of glasses.

Vision issues don’t just impact the success of children in school, they also affect their ability to function in life. As many as 44 percent of parents are not aware that behavioral problems can be an indication that a child’s vision is impaired. That’s why it’s vital that parents, teachers and communities advocate for children’s vision care and to work together to give them the good vision they need.

When your children need eye exams

Vision impairment is one of the most widespread disabling conditions among children in the United States. The good news is that 80 percent of all vision impairment can be prevented or cured. Your child’s first line of defense is their optometrist or eye doctor, and according to the American Optometric Association, they should have their first comprehensive eye exam when they are six months old. The next exam should be at age three, and then before they start first grade. If no vision issues are found, kids should have an eye exam every two years. Children who need vision correction such as eyeglasses or contacts should have an eye exam every year.

Vision is the most overlooked factor impacting a child’s success in school and in life. You can make a difference by ensuring your children get regular comprehensive eye exams, and by helping kids who don’t have access to vision care. For more information and to learn more, visit www.evfusa.org. With clear vision, there are no limits to what any child can achieve.

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1 The National Health Commission on Vision & Health