August is National Children’s Vision & Learning Month: College of Optometrists in Vision Development Offers Help to Struggling Schools & Students

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Charles Shidlofsky, O.D, FCOVD discusses National Children's Vision and Learning Month

As families get ready for another school year, the majority of the states in the U.S. have been approved for waivers from many mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. This August marks the seventh annual observance of the vital role vision plays in academic success. The message is simple: when children continue to struggle with reading despite all best efforts to help, vision disorders are often lurking below everyone’s radar.

One of the largest optometric studies performed on the relationship between vision and learning found that “visual factors are significantly better predictors of academic success as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills than is race or socio-economics.” This study involved 540 students over 3 consecutive school years, with a total of 2,659 examinations. While this study was released in 2003, the results still offer a key to helping struggling students and schools.

Another study on vision and learning was released earlier this year, “Improvement in Academic Behaviors After Successful Treatment of Convergence Insufficiency.” Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is an eye coordination disorder which can make reading difficult, even for the brightest of children. The study involved 218 children and showed that, “A successful or improved outcome after CI treatment was associated with a reduction in the frequency of adverse academic behaviors and parental concern associated with reading and school work as reported by parents.”

While most schools assume they have ruled out vision problems by performing cursory vision screenings, vision screenings only detect approximately 5% of actual vision problems. Screenings have missed serious vision problems, such as Amblyopia (often referred to as lazy eye), as well as eye coordination problems such as convergence insufficiency.

“If your child is struggling with reading or paying attention in school, don’t wait for the school or pediatrician to tell you it’s time to have your child’s vision evaluated. Contact us or visit our website for help now,” states Dr. David Damari, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

“When your child has a broken arm, are you going to wait until dozens of studies have been performed to make sure you are using the right treatment protocol?” Damari continues, “Far too many children are reading below grade level or struggling to remain on grade level. It’s time to acknowledge that vision plays a vital role in education and get children the proper vision care.”

Over 17 visual skills are required for success in the classroom. The standard vision screening and eye exams only tests a couple of these visual skills. The diagnosis and treatment of vision disorders that interfere with reading and learning is best performed by an optometrist who provides an in-office program of optometric vision therapy. These doctors have pursued extensive post-graduate education in vision development and they diagnose and treat learning-related vision disorders all the time.

“We have seen a number of children in the Collin, Denton and Dallas County area, who had struggled for years before finding out they had convergence insufficiency (a very correctable eye coordination problem),” states Dr. Shidlofsky, “When children struggle with reading and learning it can cost their parents dearly in time, money, and frustration. In addition, there are significant costs to the schools when students have undiagnosed vision disorders.” Dr. Shidlofsky is a neuro-developmental optometrist who has an office in Plano and diagnoses and treats vision problems that interfere with academic success.
During the month of August, parents from all over the world will be telling their stories of how their children went from struggling to success on the COVD Facebook page. Visit covd.org for a direct link to the Facebook page and for more information on the critical link between vision and learning.

About COVD
The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international, non-profit optometric membership organization that provides education, evaluation and board certification programs in behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy and visual rehabilitation. To launch their 2012 campaign, a series of public service announcements (PSAs) were released to help raise awareness that vision problems can not only interfere with learning, but sports performance, and other activities of daily living. These PSAs also address vision problems that impact individuals who have autism spectrum disorders or those who have suffered a head injury. The organization is comprised of doctors of optometry, vision therapists and other vision specialists. For more information on learning-related vision problems, vision therapy and COVD, please visit http://www.covd.org or call 888.268.3770.

CONTACT: Pamela R. Happ, CAE
COVD Executive Director
888.268.3770 tel
Email: phapp(at)covd(dot)org
Website: http://www.covd.org

About Charles Shidlofsky, O.D., FCOVD
Dr. Shidlofsky, is a neuro-developmental who is board certified in vision development and vision therapy) who diagnoses and treats vision problems that interfere with reading, learning, and 3D/stereo vision. In addition, Dr. Shidlofsky also works with children and adults who have suffered vision issues as a result of traumatic and acquired brain injury. He is on staff as an Adjunct Professor of Optometry at four Optometry Colleges around the country.

For more information, please contact:

Charles Shidlofsky, O.D., FCOVD
Email: dr-s(at)dr-s(dot)net
Phone: 972-312-0177

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