New Study Connects Vision and Academics

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By Elizabeth Miller 

Children who are farsighted perform worse on early literacy tests than their peers with normal vision.  Those are the results of a new study that surveyed more than 400 children from 3 cities, including Columbus. 

As part of a study looking at vision in preschoolers, researchers at the Ohio State University examined 4 and 5 year olds with moderate farsightedness.  These are children who have difficulty seeing things close up.  The researchers found these kids scored significantly lower on an early reading test than those with normal vision.  None of the children in the study wore glasses.

Dr. Marjean Taylor Kulp at the OSU College of Optometry says children with farsightedness may face more difficult challenges in first grade and in the future.

“These differences may have an impact," said Dr. Kulp.

"They are comparable to other differences shown in other research to be predictive of future problems with learning to read and learning to write.”

Dr. Kulp says the problem can go unnoticed because children might not complain about it.

"They don’t have any reference or comparison, so they just assume that everybody sees the same way that they do," said Dr. Kulp.

Further research still has to be done to determine if prescribing glasses for the children would improve the problem.  In Cleveland schools, students undergo free annual vision screenings, but The Ohio Department of Health says an exam with an eye doctor can better diagnose a child’s vision problems and needs.  

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