Visual disorders hamper learning

Monica Mendoza, Story and photo
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***A child who has a persistent headache or who needs to squint to see the blackboard may have a visual problem.

Over the next two months, nearly 3,000 children in the KMC schools will
have a simple vision screening exam. Officials estimate that 5 to 10
percent of children screened at school during annual screenings will be
recommended for a comprehensive eye exam.

“Most children have had an eye exam before they get to kindergarten,
but we still catch a lot of visual disorders,” said Capt. Susan Sloan,
assistant chief of optometry at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Captains Sloan and Christie Barton, chief of clinical optometry at
Ramstein, began vision screenings Monday at Lanstuhl Elementary and
Middle School.

Visual disorders could include eye disease or near- or farsightedness.
Vision screening takes less than 10 minutes and includes an optometrist
shining a light in the eye to study the reflex.

Optometrists say vision impairments in children can lead to behavior problems or poor academic performance in school.

“We can really turn a kid’s life around,” Captain Barton said.