Through the SEE TO LEARN® Program in Nebraska, more than 140 optometrists are working in their communities to educate parents, educators, child care providers and others about the warning signs of vision problems.
They also offer free vision assessments for three-year-olds throughout the year. "We hope that by providing free vision assessments to three-year-olds, we can detect problems that might affect their ability to do well in school and later in life," said Nebraska Foundation for Children's Vision President Mary Lauritzen.
Each year, one in five children enter kindergarten with a vision problem that could affect their ability to learn.
"More than 80 percent of learning is a result of visual processing, so if children aren't seeing well, they're going to have trouble learning," said Lauritzen.
In an effort to detect vision problems in children before they enter school, the Eye Care Council developed the SEE TO LEARN® Program. The Nebraska Foundation for Children's Vision (NFCV) administers SEE TO LEARN® in Nebraska.
While many parents assume that their children will let them know if they are experiencing vision problems, most young children aren't aware that they have vision problems.
"One of the biggest difficulties we run into is that children with vision problems are often unaware that they have vision problems, because they assume everyone else sees the same way they do," Lauritzen said. "And certain vision conditions, such as lazy eye, require early detection and treatment to ensure that there is no permanent loss of vision. That's why all parents, teachers and anyone else who works with children need to learn the warning signs of vision problems."
For more information about scheduling your three-year-old for a free vision assessment through the SEE TO LEARN® Program, call 1-800-960-EYES or visit the Council on the web at www.seetolearn.com or the Nebraska Foundation for Children's Vision web site at www.nechildrensvision.org.