Eyes on the prize part 2: Vision problems affecting childhood development
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08-31-15 Category: Mental Health


In honor of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, medical professionals and parents are advocating for raised awareness regarding eye health and vision screenings for children nationwide. The connection between vision problems and mental health is well-documented. This is especially true for children, who often struggle in school when vision problems go undiagnosed and interfere with learning. Many times, these developmental issues also lead to bullying or social withdrawal, increasing a child’s risk of mental health issues.

According to the American Optometric Association, approximately 80 percent of learning throughout childhood is visual. When a child struggles with an undetected vision problem or other eye problems, it impairs his or her ability to absorb and process information. A 2009 report by The Vision Council confers that poor vision can impede a child’s success in the classroom. As Ed Greene, CEO of the organization, states, “Many states are recognizing the critical connection between vision and learning.” Common signs of poor vision in children include being easily distracted and having a short attention span due to the inability to see what is written on the board or computer screen. For this reason, children with vision problems are sometimes misdiagnosed as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Sporting activities are a huge part of the social experience for many children. Whether an individual is the star basketball player or struggles to run the mile in physical education class, sports have an effect on the individual. The American Optometric Association notes that excelling in sports requires depth perception, hand-eye coordination and being able to see long distance, among other things. These are all related to eye health and vision, the lack of which can result in issues with social development. Bullying, whether related to inaptitude in sports or other social circumstances, can make children with these eye health problems struggle with mental health issues. For instance, the international organization Unite for Sight reports that “eye disease increases the likelihood of social withdrawal, isolation, falls and medication errors.” Regardless of whether eye issues exist, children wearing protective eyewear when involved in sporting activities is highly recommended by medical professionals.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues resulting from eye health or vision problems, help is available. Sovereign Health Group specializes in treating individuals struggling with mental health disorders, substance abuse issues and dual diagnosis. Call (866) 819-0427 to speak with a professional today.

Eyes on the prize part 3: Warning signs related to eye health and anxiety

Written by Courtney Howard, Sovereign Health Group writer

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