By Mary Lauritzen, NFCV President

STLMonthAs President of the Nebraska Foundation for Children’s Vision, I am passionate about children’s vision issues. We are trying to make sure that every child in Nebraska can see to learn.

October is See To Learn Month in Nebraska. The See To Learn program offers free vision assessments to any 3-year-old in the state can get a free vision assessment from a participating optometrist.  Even though we pay special attention to the program in October, it is actually available throughout the year.

It’s no secret that vision problems negatively impact scholastic success, but think about this: Undetected vision problems can make a child less likely to graduate from high school, affect his or her sports performance and limit career choices – all before the child even starts school.

Instead of me telling you why it’s so important to take advantage of the free vision assessments offered next week, take a minute to read about a success story that, if not addressed, would have been anything but.

David (now a fifth grader) was in second grade and was having serious struggles with reading. He was flagged by the school nurse as possibly having a physical vision problem that was preventing him from excelling like the other students in his class. His parents were informed of the need for an exam, and they brought him in to participating See To Learn optometrist.

The exam results showed David had vision tracking and focusing problems. After a few tests, it was determined he was reading at a first grade level – basically a year behind his peer group.

After identifying his specific vision problems (and determining he didn’t have cognitive deficiency), his optometrist was able to get him in a therapy project. At David’s one-month progress report, he was now getting straight A’s in school. At his three-month progress report, he was reading at a fifth-sixth grade level. And finally, after 25 hour-long therapy sessions, his vision problems had been completely resolved.

All it took was a simple eye exam from an optometrist to change this boy’s life. Who knows where he’d be without it.  But his problem wasn’t detected until he was already in school … what if he had seen his optometrist before starting school? He might not have struggled the first two years of school.

That’s why we offer the See To Learn Program in Nebraska. We know what a difference in can make in a child’s life. One in five children entering Kindergarten has an undetected vision problem. If you have a 3-year-old, or know someone who does, call 800-960-EYES or visit Nebraska See To Learn Providers to schedule a free assessment.

For more information, visit the See To Learn Program.