A recent study found uncorrected hyperopia (farsightedness) not only results in decreased academic performance as measured via literacy, there are other deficits. The ability to pay attention, visual perception and even hand-eye/motor skills were shown to suffer when scored. This includes up to 14 percent of preschoolers.
So why is uncorrected hyperopia less than optimal? Simple: an optically perfect eye should not have to focus on distant objects (more than 10 feet away). The farsighted or hyperopic eye needs to constantly search for focal clarity. It is very similar to the auto-focus on a camera – it works, but the focusing mechanism must always be actively engaged. This easily contributes to visual fatigue and an extra burden on the visual system and by extension thinking centers of the brain. It is too easy for the child to simply allow the world to blur and tune it out after all this unconscious focusing. Additionally, a farsighted child may have to work much more to focus on near objects compared to non-hyperopic children. This can result in binocular vision disorders, headaches and lack of interest in near work.
The whole learning process is an amazing symphony of many contributors. Identifying children at risk and considering treatment is very important at a young age. If you have any concerns about your child and/or your child has not had an eye exam by at least age 6 – please bring them in to our clinic for an evaluation.
The research was published recently in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.
The U.S. National Eye Institute has more on farsightedness.
SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Oct. 9, 2017