Unknown vision problem can cause poor school performance
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MPB Staff

Eye experts in Mississippi  are urging parents to get regular eye screening for their children. MPB's Alexis Ware reports poor vision could mean lower academic success. 

Students across the state with undiagnosed vision problems are more likely to underperform academically according to vision experts. The Mississippi Vision Foundation reports about 90 percent of what students learn is visual. 

Toni Hollingsworth is with the Mississippi Hearing-Vision Project at the University of Southern Mississippi. She says some students may not realize their vision is impaired. 

"Children have a harder time explaining that they might not be seeing what they need to be seeing because they might not have it anything to compare it to or the language to speak about it."

25 percent of all school age children have vision problems according to the Foundation. Of that number, more than 80 percent don't get the help needed. Low-income and minority students are disproportionately affected. 

Dr. Raina Bahadur is an ophthalmologist at the Eye Associates of the South in Biloxi. She says ensuring students have access to eye screenings can boost their academic achievement. 

"Just by seeing well and you see what's being presented to you on the boards you see the examples that are being shown by teachers I know so much of how kids learn nowadays is very visual you have to have good vision to be able to use that information to help them grow."

Bahadur says parents and teachers can identify some signs that a student may have vision impairment. Some include holding books close to their face, frequent daydreaming or running into things.