World Sight Day: Hyperopia or farsightedness in children can affect early learning
Research has found that preschoolers and kindergartners who are farsighted could be at risk of falling behind at school due to the condition affecting their concentration.fitness Updated: Oct 12, 2017 10:38 IST
Latest research shows that preschoolers and kindergartners who are farsighted could be at risk of falling behind at school due to the condition affecting their concentration. Carried out by researchers from the Ohio State University, the team looked at 244 children with moderate farsightedness and 248 children with normal vision.
The children were tested to evaluate their attention, visual perception and the ability to integrate visual perception and motor skills. The results showed that the children who were moderately farsighted — which was determined using eye exams at the start of the study — were significantly more likely to have poorer scores on the attention-related tests.
Although some of the children were able to focus their eyes and make up for their farsightedness, others were not, and therefore struggled to see close-up. This led to lower scores on tests of visual attention (the ability to zero in on some visual stimuli and ignore others), visual perception, and visual-motor integration (eye-hand coordination or copying skills).
Although an estimated 4 to 14% of preschoolers have moderate farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, glasses aren’t always recommended for the condition as some believe vision correction isn’t the right option for children of this age. However Marjean Taylor Kulp, one of the authors of the study, commented that the results add to the growing evidence that farsightedness could be affecting learning.
“We knew from our previous work that preschool and kindergarten children with uncorrected farsightedness have decreased early literacy, and this new study shows that there are even more deficits in these children early on,” she said. Previous research has also found that children with uncorrected farsightedness lag behind reading skills before they start first grade.
“It’s important for us to identify these children and especially identify those who are having learning difficulties because of their vision,” concluded Kulp. The team now plans to carry out a follow-up study to investigate if glasses could be an effective option to correct farsightedness in children. The results can be found published online in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.
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