Good eye sight for school

KIMT News 3 – Sarah Hejlik knows all to well what can happen if a student isn’t feeling well.

And that can include trouble with their eye sight.

“We find that there is significant relation between being able to see well what their doing and easier learning process for the kids,” said Sarah.

Sarah is the School Nurse at West Hancock Elementary School.

And every November she takes the time to test kids on their vision as well as attaching a vision card to paperwork for kids to take home.

But she says she’s always on alert for those signs of poor eyesight.

“Kind of just monitor because if it’s just I’m tired, I’m hungry those types of things, but if I get into a month of school and I’m still having a child that’s coming to me and saying I’m having a lot of headaches or its two to three times a day I’ll get a hold of parents and say we might want to be thinking about eyes here,” said Sarah.

And if that’s the case, the parents would most likely meet with someone like Dr. Melissa Summerfield.

Dr. Summerfield is an Ophthalmologist at North Iowa Eye Clinic, and says it’s important for parents to really pay attention to those symptoms of strained eye sight.

“Usually the signs that a parent will notice is that they stumble, trip more than a normal kid or the eyes cross,” said Summerfield.

Dr. Summerfield also says there can be trouble for the student if he or she does not get an exam at least once every two years.

“A lot of kids they don’t get any form of visual testing in an annual exam besides their pediatrician’s office and a lot of times vision problems can be missed. Kids are smart and they know how to cheat and peek around,” said Dr. Summerfield.

And for Sarah, she hopes to see some funding that would pay for the eye exams each year, so that everyone can be seeing clearly.

“I think if somehow the state could fund it kind of like they do the immunizations, if you can’t afford it we can offer free eye exams that would probably be a good program for people,” said Sarah.

According to a recent study from the College of Optometrists, more than 60 percent of kids that are classified as problem learners have some type of undetected vision problems.

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