One in six students in the Department of Education is at risk of failing academically due to severe vision problems. This is confirmed by the research called "Refractive errors and visual dysfunctions in children of Puerto Rico" (2016).
Vision problems can manifest from home, presenting redness, difficulty paying attention, headaches, taking longer than expected to finish the task and sitting very close to the television, among others.
Some of the most common vision problems are nearsightedness, farsightedness, and amblyopia. Nearsightedness and farsightedness are refractive errors that occur when light is not focused on the retina, causing blurred vision. In myopia, visual images are focused in front of the retina, causing poor vision of distant objects. In hyperopia the visual images come to focus beyond the retina, resulting in faulty vision of the closest objects.
In amblyopia (sometimes called "lazy eye"), vision is impaired due to abnormal development of the nerve connections between the brain and the eye during early childhood. As a result, the part of the brain responsible for vision in that eye does not develop as it should.
It is the duty of parents or legal guardians to ensure that their children are healthy and ready to return to school. For this reason, when identifying a vision problem, it is important that it be evaluated by your pediatrician and referred, if necessary. 80% of learning occurs through visual tasks such as reading, writing, and using computers. It can be difficult for a child with vision problems to focus and learn at home.
In 2016, the first research on the visual health of school-age children and youth conducted by the School of Optometry of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and the College of Optometrists of Puerto Rico, in partnership with the Department of Education, revealed that 25.3% of the pediatric population has visual problems which seriously affect their academic performance. As part of the research, a survey was conducted with parents in which 35.4% answered that they had never had their sons and daughters had their eyes examined.
For these reasons, Vimenti for the Boys & Girls Club of Puerto Rico conducts an initial interview with the families to determine, among several things, if the child has had vision problems or has been evaluated. Our results as of July 2019 show that 45% of Vimenti students had vision problems. In the last two years, Walmart de Puerto Rico has performed vision tests on 109 participants and they have donated glasses to all who have requested. This resulted in a significant improvement in the academic performance of those students.
Making our students, parents and teachers aware of the importance of visual health is part of Vimenti's commitment by Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico to improve the quality of life of our participants and help them break the cycle of poverty.