Vision and Learning Month!

By Tejal Shukla - August 19, 2017

Chris Christie, the American politician, declared the August month as vision and learning month for kids.

The purpose of this observance is to help increase awareness among parents and educators about undiagnosed or misdiagnosed vision problems.

Vision and learning are intimately related: experts say that roughly 80% of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually. Recognising letters, colours, shapes, patterns plus fine motor skills like craft and drawing is all about learning new things visually. A good vision is very very essential for students of all ages to reach their full academic potential.

Often times, when a child has some vision related problems, parents and teachers think it is due to laziness, learning disability or even ADHD. Wherein the matter may be that the child can't see properly; hence, he or she will not be able to following along and will have hard time concentrating. This leads to poor performance which causes to poor self esteem and eventually behaviour problems.

What are the the vision related problems in kids? The most common of it is near sightedness or myopia. Children having myopia have trouble with eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination.

How can we recognise if our children have vision related problems?

Here are some common symptoms:

  • Headaches or eye strain.
  • Blurred or doubled vision.
  • Crossed eyes or eyes that appear to move independently of each other.
  • Dislike or avoidance of reading and close work.
  • Short attention span during visual tasks.
  • Turning or tilting the head to use one eye only, or closing or covering one eye.
  • Placing the head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing.
  • Excessive blinking or rubbing the eyes.
  • Difficulty in reading without placing finger as a guide.
  • Difficulty in memorising what was read.
  • Difficulty in identifying or reproducing shapes.
  • Poor fine motor skills.
  • Overall slow progress in learning and self development.

If your child shows one or more of these symptoms and is experiencing learning problems, it is possible he or she may have a learning related vision problem.

What steps to be taken if a child is having learning related vision problems?

Parents should get their children evaluated for learning-related vision problems with a developmental optometrist and follow the instructions of the doctor. It can be wearing glasses as well as going under vision therapy and few medical treatment. The schools can conduct camps for routine eye check-ups and vision test for the kids.

Yoga therapy for learning related vision problems:

Yoga can be very beneficial to the children having learning related vision problems.

The basic Asanas for kids are always beneficial for overall health.

Trataka

Along with that, a very effective technique for a clear vision, concentration and focus is called "Trataka ".

Trataka means to look or gaze at a specific object for specific time without blinking eyes.

Mainly there are 6 types of Trataka.

  • Surya Trataka - Sun gazing*
  • Chandra Trataka- Moon gazing
  • Tara Trataka - Star gazing
  • Mombatti Trataka- Candle gazing
  • Jatru Trataka-  Thumb gazing
  • Bindu Tratak - Gazing at any tiny object or dot

*note -  Sun gazing is to be practiced only looking at the rising sun)

Kids can start gazing at any object constantly without blinking for 30 seconds and gradually they can increase the time to 1 min.  Once the eyes get watery, eyes should be closed and open very gently when they feel relaxation in eyes.

Trataka helps the kids in better coordination of eyes and giving exercise to the eyes for better blood circulation which increases the strength and focus of eyes. This also leads to calmness of mind.

Other asanas like Brahma mudra (neck rotations), movements of eyes in vertical, horizontal, slanting and circulatory (using a ball or without ball) are also some of the very effective eye exercises for better vision in kids (and adults).

Relaxation is also very important. In today's life, children are using smartphones and computers from an early age. This strains the eyes. Keeping the eyes close at least for 30 seconds while working or playing on computer screen can give the eyes necessary relaxation and allows them to function without getting dry or tired.

Jalneti is found to be very beneficial in vision related problems as it reduces sinusitis headache and gives rise to proper breathing which leads to more concentration and lesser stress on eyes.

Good nutrition plus hygiene also plays the essential role on over all health of the eyes of children.

Mudras

Surya Mudra is a very simple and most beneficial for kids to practice for better vision.

It increases the fire element in the body which leads to sharp vision, better concentration and higher intellect. Bring the tip of the ring finger on the base of the thumb and then bringing the gentle pressure of the thumb upon this finger.

Mantras

In ancient Indian Texts there are few hymns which are specifically composed to pray for better vision. This is called Mantra yoga and many people practice this ancient science for better health.

Chakshuponishad

A prayer in honor of Surya Deva (Sun God)

(parents can make kids listen to this mantra)

 

Surya Gayatri Mantra

Om Adityaya Vidmahe

Sahara Kiranya Dheemahi

Tanno Bhanu Pracgodayat

 

Surya Mantra

Om hreem ghrinihi surya aditya shreem

 

Lalitham Mantra

Lalitham Lambodaram

Lalitham Bhaskaram

Lalitham Balachandram

 

Hanuman Mantra

Anjani garbha sambhutam kumaram brahmacharinam

Drushti dosha vinasharth smaramyahara

 

Mantra for eye relaxation

Om mam netra jyoti jagra jagra om shanti (rub your hands together)

Om Shanti (touch your eyes gently with your hands)

 

Kriyas

Netra dhouti

(a yogic kriya for eye cleansing)

Fill up your mouth with clean drinking cold water as much as you can and wash your eyes with water for 3 times and spit the water out. Do this for 3 times in a day. This will clean the eyes and reduce the strain while looking at the blackboard and leads to more relaxed vision while at school.

The early years of education are very very important for a better future in academics as well as overall personality development of an individual.