Eye exams are becoming a crucial key to a child's success in the classroom. A recent study found students who receive glasses have shown significant improvement at school. YNN's Erin Billups reports.
Notebooks, calculators, pencils, and new outfits are just some of the back to school staples. However, one item that is often overlooked are eye exams.
"Now in school, they ask you so many supplies for the children. It's just like I feel a hardship for the parents," said Gloria Ruiz, mother of three children.
Ruiz's daughter Kiana, 9, started having trouble during the last school year because she needed glasses.
"Even though she was not sitting too far from the blackboard she was still unable to see certain things very clear. And the teacher thought that she was making excuses that she was being lazy, that she didn't want to do her work," Ruiz said.
Kiana would often complain of headaches. Optometrist Widad Valme said headaches can be a result of a child constantly straining to see.
"Well they are reading a lot, they are using the computer, and using the games," Valme said.
Valme tells parents to watch out for squinting, and says a good way to monitor your child's eye health is observing how closely they sit to the television.
"What you do is to tell your child to move back. And you slowly watch them. And if they are moving closer to the TV then it means that well they probably cannot see it," Valme explained.
Other signs of vision problems include disinterest in reading and frequent rubbing of the eyes.
A survey of teachers by Hellen Keller international found an 83 percent rate of improvement in class participation among students who received eye glasses.
"If you cannot see the board, you can't read, you can't write down the information you need off the board. We've found that in many cases that once a student receives a simple pair of eyeglasses their behavior starts to change," explained Tonya Daniels, Helen Keller International ChildSight New York Program Manager.
Valme recommends that children and teens get their eyes checked out once every year.