October 3, 2011

A Hopeful Report

It is important to note that the AOA’s position paper, “See Well, Learn Well.” is considered a Public Health Report. What does that mean? It means that this report carries both consequence and a very hopeful message. It carries consequence in conveying the message that vision matters—in learning and in life. You see, if a child cannot see 3D in the natural world, that child will struggle in reading from an early age—and she will often struggle to see lessons from the back of the room. As she grows older, that same child will be less successful competing in athletics or safely driving a car. Her overall quality of life will narrow, as she will be less able to enjoy the natural world that surrounds her, which is, of course, a 3D world.  The report carries consequence by demonstrating that 3D carries profound implications for improving the nation’s vision health.

The report is also hopeful. It is hopeful because the report suggests that these new 3D technologies offer us a pathway that can lead to more successful educational experiences for our children.  It is auspicious because this technology portends earlier diagnosis of vision disorders. It is promising because it carries with it the remarkable potential for fundamentally eliminating entire generations of eye disorders, such as amblyopia (lazy eye), through early detection.

The message of “See Well, Learn Well” is straightforward. A child is diagnosed with a congenital eye disorder at age five—which is 5 or 6 years earlier than this would normally have been diagnosed. Then there are the stories of those who faced serious academic struggles in school until their natural 3D vision was addressed. The message is not lost on me either. I am legally blind in one eye—the result of childhood amblyopia—so I know what this means at a deeply personal level.

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