Celebrating Literacy, Visual Health, and Lifelong Learning
Sep 8, 2023
International Literacy Day is recognized around the world each year on September 8th with the purpose of reminding us that literacy is both a human right and essential tool for advancing our futures. On International Literacy Day, we recognize the close correlation between one’s ability to see and our capacity to read, learn, and apply our knowledge in everyday life.
What is Literacy Day?
Literacy most commonly refers to the ability to read and write, however it is also closely tied to education and learning. International Literacy Day was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (or, UNESCO) as a day to recognize literacy and education as intrinsic human rights. Through International Literacy Day, UNESCO motivates people of all ages and backgrounds to embrace “lifelong learning” and to think of literacy as more than just the ability to read and write. UNESCO considers literacy as a primary tool for elevating individuals and communities out of poverty or other difficult circumstances, and believes that lifelong learners are the key to advancing our future as both individuals and as a society.
Literacy and Visual Health
Literacy empowers us to read, write, learn, and participate in the world around us. It’s also closely related to our visual health. Through vision care, we are able to help our patients maintain optimal visual health, which has a positive impact on each patient’s capacity for literacy and thus their quality of life. However, when a person struggles with their vision, it can both hinder their capacity for literacy and negatively affect their quality of life. Often, we encounter patients with vision problems that affect all aspects of their life; their ability to read and write, their driving ability, work, caring for a loved one, or completing everyday tasks like cooking. Offering high quality vision care that resolves these visual ailments is a core goal of our practice, and our patients remind us each day of the impact their vision has on their everyday lives.
“Wilmington Eye truly cares about my son’s well-being and always have shown great care and understanding. Cannot thank them enough for helping my son get the surgery that he needed to help change his life.” – Rick Y
Literacy can be compromised in adults and children alike. Whether it is an adult who is unable to work due to the challenges of an ocular condition, or a child who can’t read the board at school, our medical providers take a personal interest in changing the lives of our patients through improved visual health. The visual impairments we can treat come in many different forms. From daily discomfort due to an ocular affliction like a stye, an ocular disorder like nearsightedness or farsightedness, or an ocular disease like cataracts, these visual impairments can have a direct impact on one’s ability to learn and participate in society. When this occurs, it’s best to seek out professional help.
Building the Foundations for Literacy in Early Childhood
According to Dr. Hilary Cox, a Wilmington Eye optometrist who specializes in pediatric care, “80% of all learning is done through the visual system,” which makes visual health extremely important for growth and development in children. Without healthy vision, children can struggle both in school and later in life. While most children in the US will have annual visual screening exams with their pediatrician starting around age 3, these screenings can often miss important signs of visual problems. For this reason, it’s recommended that all school-age children have a comprehensive eye exam with an eye care provider, such as a pediatric optometrist or a pediatric ophthalmologist, to ensure there are no barriers to visual health and learning.
In the video below, Dr. Cox discusses the difference between a visual screening done at a pediatrician’s office and a comprehensive eye exam performed by an optometrist.
Dr. Cox sees both adult patients and pediatric patients for things like routine eye exams and comprehensive eye exams. Dr. Cox also specializes in post-operative care for strabismus. As a trusted provider, she has helped countless patients—both young and old—achieve and maintain healthy vision.
“Dr Cox is amazing, she has helped my daughter improve her vision through patching and continues to maintain her progress. If it was not for her knowledge and expertise my daughter could have completely lost her vision in that eye.” – Winnie J
Are you ready to be a lifelong learner?
On this day of celebrating knowledge and learning we think about the close relationship between literacy and visual health, and the patients we serve through medical intervention. Being able to support and improve one’s ability to read, write, and learn is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in ophthalmology.