By Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Oct. 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Farsightedness affects young children's ability to pay attention in school, which could put them at risk of falling behind in the classroom, a new study suggests.
"We knew from our previous work that preschool and kindergarten children with uncorrected farsightedness have decreased early literacy, and this new study shows that there are even more deficits in these children early on," said study author Marjean Taylor Kulp, a professor of optometry at Ohio State University.
Between 4 and 14 percent of preschoolers have moderate farsightedness. That's when you have trouble seeing things that are close to you. The condition often goes undetected.
The study included almost 250 preschoolers and kindergartners with moderate farsightedness and nearly 250 with normal vision.
Researchers tested both groups and found that farsighted children were more likely to have poorer scores on visual attention, visual perception and visual-motor skills, such as eye-hand coordination.
Even when moderate farsightedness is diagnosed, glasses aren't always recommended because there's disagreement about whether vision correction is appropriate for these children, the study authors noted.
The researchers said they're hoping to get funding to conduct a study to determine whether glasses benefit young children with moderate farsightedness.
There needs to be recognition that moderate farsightedness can cause learning and literacy problems, Kulp said.
"It's important for us to identify these children and especially identify those who are having learning difficulties because of their vision," she said in a university news release.
The research was published recently in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.