About 80 percent of all babies are born farsighted — able to see objects clearly at a distance but less clearly close up. Some five percent are born nearsighted, or unable to see objects at a distance clearly.
Approximately 15 percent are born with nothing wrong with the refractive parts of the eye — the cornea and crystalline lens which bend light and focus it properly on the retina. Farsightedness usually decreases as a child ages, typically normalizing to a negligible value by the age of 7-8.
After a child grows and the incidence of farsightedness decreases, that of nearsightedness increases. Many school-age children and teens first discover they are nearsighted when they have difficulty reading the writing on the board at school. Nearsightedness usually occurs before age 25.
Vision skills for school
Your school-age child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. When his or her vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities can suffer.
Good vision involves many different skills working together to enable your child not only to see clearly but also to understand what he or she sees.
Those skills include:
Ability to see clearly and comfortably at 13-16 inches, the distance at which school deskwork should be performed.
Ability to see clearly and comfortably at 10 feet or more.
Ability to use the two eyes together.
Eye Movement Skills
Ability to aim the eyes accurately, and move them smoothly across a page and quickly and accurately from one object to another.
Ability to be aware of things to the side while looking straight ahead.
Ability to use the eyes and hands together.
If any of these or other vision skills is lacking or not functioning properly, your child’s eyes have to work harder. This can lead to blurred vision, headaches, fatigue and other eyestrain symptoms.
Why thorough vision examinations are important
Don’t assume your child has good vision because he or she passed a school vision screening. A 20/20 score means only that your child can see at 20 feet what he or she should be able to see at that distance. It does not measure any of the other vision skills needed for learning.