Check Child's Eyes, Ears Before He Enters School
( Originally Published 1936 )
It will save you a lot of grief in the future if you are certain that your child's eyesight and hearing are efficient before entering school.
You may think that such things would make themselves known. But that is not always the case. The life of the pre-school child is not such as will test either vision or hearing severely. The activities of school soon do and the bad grades or backwardness may be due to very simple little deficiencies in sight or hearing.
An example may be found in the experience of the authorities at the Hill school at Pottstown, Pa. Several years ago it was decided to test the students for their acuteness of hearing. It was found that 3 per cent had deafness in one or both ears. The acuity of hearing was reduced at least one-tenth in even the mildest cases and in many it was much worse. This school is a private institution, most of the students coming from wealthy, or at least well-to-do homes. Yet in spite of the fact that they had been reared in circumstances which would seem to assume that they had excellent medical attention these conditions had never been discovered.
In the matter of eyesight the child who has a far-sighted eye is likely to have more trouble than the one with near-sightedness. This is true because the far-sighted eye is likely to go undetected, especially during the years before school. The child with far-sighted eyes can see well to play games and perform the acts of life in childhood which require no close vision. The appearance is that of health and happiness in every respect. No suggestion ever arises that there is any difficulty with vision.
When school starts and books become companions the child's eyes being soft and easily adjusted, the far-sighted child can focus to see perfectly at six inches. The normal eye can see without strain at four inches. The far-sighted child can see closely but it is a strain and whether conscious of the strain or not, he developes a distaste for reading and becomes backward in his studies. But good at athletics and outdoor activities.
The near-sighted child is much easier to spot because he holds his book or writing paper close to his eyes. And because he can't see distant objectsóbaseball, tennis ballsówell, he is likely to be studious and successful at his books.
Both types, of course, should have correction with glasses.
The question of whether or not tonsils and adenoids should be removed before entering school depends on the Question of infection. Several years ago it was a regular thing to have a slaughter of tonsils about this time of year. Just on general principles. Personally I have grown very conservative in this matter, and I believe most of my brethren in the nose and throat specialty have also. Certainly they should be removed if infected, but not "on general principles."