Back to School

Violet was SO excited for her first day back to preschool!

Violet was SO excited for her first day back to preschool!

For some reason, even though I’m well beyond school age, the back-to-school time of year always conjures up memories of picking out my outfit, packing my backpack and the half-excited, half-nervous first day feelings. I find myself feeling the same for all of the super adorable kiddos I see all over social media. 

Violet starts her second year of preschool this year, though it’s becoming alarmingly clear that we are only ONE year away from her first day of kindergarten. Yikes! I think I feel the same way about her starting school as I did each year. She is growing up to be such a funny and curious little girl.  It’s so fun to see her personality, and she’s got a lot of it! I know when the time comes she will love school, and I can’t wait for her.  

Violet got to practice going to kindergarten at Panda's (aka Grandpa Mike) school.

Violet got to practice going to kindergarten at Panda's (aka Grandpa Mike) school.

But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that part of me is nervous because I don’t really know how her vision will affect her learning or her social development. I have all the confidence that she will do great, but I also know that the ability to see well at school is hugely important. 80-90% of what a child learns is visual, yet one in four kids suffer from some kind of vision problem. That’s almost 5 million kids! And as much as 60% of learning disabilities are associated with vision problems.  

The ability to see well at school, or lack thereof, is way more significant than I ever even knew.  And it’s important to remember that most kids with a vision problem only know the way they see, and don’t know it should be different. Since starting to work on Violet Sees, I’ve heard so many stories from adults who remember how difficult it felt at school when they were young.  They didn’t know why it was hard until the first time they got glasses. Suddenly everything was clear and they were able to flourish at school.

Being a parent is most definitely not for the faint of heart, and with so many frightening things coming at our kids it’s easy to be overwhelmed. But the encouraging part? Many vision problems are treatable. Knowing more about common eye problems and what signs to look for are your best lines of defense in making sure your sweet kiddo has their very best year at school.

Tons of information exists, but a lot of it can be overwhelming and hard to understand. As you prepare to embark on the school year with your children, check out some of my favorite resources on eye health below:

The American Optometric Association has great information on signs to look for if your child might have a vision problem and when to go see a doctor.

All About Vision explains some types of learning-related vision problems (and the difference between problems and disabilities), symptoms to look for and different treatments.

AAPOS (American Assoc. for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus) gives some reasons kids need glasses and helpful advice for parents of kids with new glasses.