In a joint effort to assist the community, the Champaign County Lions Clubs – St. Paris, Urbana and Woodstock – are offering free vision screenings at the Champaign County Fair for children ages 3-5. They will be located in the Merchants Building. They will be screening for strabismus and amblyopia.
Every experience a preschooler has is an opportunity for growth and development. They use their vision to guide other learning experiences. From ages 3 to 5, a child will be fine-tuning the visual abilities gained during infancy and developing new ones.
Stacking building blocks, rolling a ball back and forth, coloring, drawing, cutting, or assembling lock-together toys all help improve important visual skills. Preschoolers depend on their vision to learn tasks that will prepare them for school. They are developing the visually-guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and visual perceptual abilities necessary to learn to read and write.
Steps taken at this age to help ensure vision is developing normally can provide a child with a good “head start” for school. Preschoolers are eager to draw and look at pictures. Also, reading to young children is important to help them develop strong visualization skills as they “picture” the story in their minds.
This is also the time when parents need to be alert for the presence of vision problems like crossed eyes or lazy eye. These conditions often develop at this age. Crossed eyes or strabismus involves one or both eyes turning inward or outward. Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is a lack of clear vision in one eye, which can’t be fully corrected with eyeglasses. Lazy eye often develops as a result of crossed eyes, but may occur without noticeable signs.
In addition, parents should watch their child for indications of any delays in development, which may signal the presence of a vision problem. Difficulty with recognition of colors, shapes, letters and numbers can occur if there is a vision problem.