Good Vision is Critical to Succeed in School | News | Loyola Medicine
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Are Glasses on Your Back-to-School Supply List?

Good Vision is Critical to Success in School, Says Loyola Specialist 

MAYWOOD, IL – Can your child read what's on the chalkboard? Or see the teacher from the back of the room? 

"Glasses may be the most important back-to-school supply many children get this year," said Eileen Gable, OD, an eye specialist at Loyola Medicine. "Vision problems in young children often go undetected and are difficult for family members to identify."

Vision disorders are the fourth-most-common disability in children. “Vision is complex and tricky for family members to assess. Children with normal sight in just one eye can appear to see really well when in fact, they do not," said Dr. Gable. "Not having good vision in both eyes can cause poor depth perception and, if left untreated, can last a lifetime and limit career choices." 

Think your child may have problems seeing correctly? Dr. Gable offers these tips to help parents know what to look for:

  • Is your child adjusting normal behavior in order to see? "If your child squints, turns his or her head or tilts it when looking at something, sees with one eye closed, or changes body position to see, there is likely a vision problem," said Dr. Gable.
  • Does your child lose interest quickly? "Children won’t complain of blurry vision but will lose interest quickly because the visual activity is difficult," said Dr. Gable.
  • Are there changes in schoolwork or behavior at school? "Teachers are a great resource and can work with families to help determine if a child’s behavior in school or difficulty with grades might be a response to a vision problem,” Dr. Gable said.

Other health conditions can affect vision temporarily. For good general health, she recommends paying close attention to make sure children are:

  • Properly hydrated
  • Eating a nutritionally balanced diet
  • Exercising appropriately
  • Practicing good sleep habits

“The eye is controlled by muscles that need the right care to function properly, just like any other part of the body," said Dr. Gable. "Headaches or being tired can be confused with vision problems."

Eye exams from a pediatric or family eye health specialist are recommended yearly to catch problems early. “Vision can usually be corrected easily and quickly, most often by being properly fitted for glasses," Dr. Gable said. "An eye doctor who has experience with children should be open to questions, offer reassurance, be sensitive and will explain things so the young patient can understand." 

Nearly 80 percent of what children learn during their first 12 years is through their vision. "I love seeing the joyous sense of wonder and excitement when a child can see properly for the first time," she said. "Wearing glasses can make a student's future so much brighter."

Loyola's ophthalmology department offers a complete range of comprehensive and subspecialty eye care. All Loyola ophthalmology physicians are board certified with subspecialty fellowship training. Together with Loyola optometrists, the ophthalmologists offer comprehensive diagnostic services and personalized treatment for adults and children. As a tertiary care facility, the ophthalmology department uses the most current, state-of-the-art equipment and procedures. Loyola’s ophthalmology team also has a long history of international service, providing free eye care to some of the world’s most underserved communities. 

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.