Accessibility Links

Vision problems 'can affect children's academic performance'

16/05/2017 Joanna

Addressing vision problems in children at the earliest possible age could aid their academic performance, according to a new Australian study.

Research from Queensland University of Technology assessed 109 year three students in optometric and academic terms, with basic vision assessments accompanied by near-vision learning tasks, such as reading and mathematics, while eye tracking was used to examine specific visual processing behaviours.

It was found that 30 per cent of students tested had uncorrected eye problems that could affect their schooling, with children referred for further optometric examination scoring significantly lower on reading, spelling, grammar, punctuation and numeracy tests. This shows that these students are struggling to engage with the visual aspects of classroom learning and losing out academically as a result.

Since these eye problems were addressed, schools involved in the study have anecdotally reported significant improvements, with some children showing a marked increase in their reading level and greater classroom participation.

Currently, vision screening and assessments are not mandated prior to children commencing school, which may mean that some pupils may be experiencing vision and visual processing difficulties that remain undetected by parents and teachers.

As such, the team is looking to investigate whether earlier vision interventions in year two can ameliorate the differences in achievement seen in the year three children.

Professor Joanne Wood from Queensland University of Technology's school of optometry and vision science said: "We hypothesise that early vision interventions could support children's development of literacy and numeracy and subsequent classroom learning and achievement.

"The aim is to level the playing field in terms of vision and provide every opportunity for learning and academic achievement for children in school and later life."

Add new comment