A startling one in four school-age children returned to school this year with a visual handicap that could prevent them from reaching their full learning and developmental potential. According to the results of a study dubbed the Parent-Teacher Eye-Q Test, or PEEK!, released by the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP) and Sears Optical, only 20 percent of parents and teachers ranked proper vision among the most important facts to ensure maximum performance as preschoolers enter kindergarten. Despite the fact that vision disorders are the most prevalent handicap in children and the fourth most common disability in the U.S., with one in 10 preschoolers and one in four school-age children known to have vision deficiencies, the PEEK study also revealed that parents and teachers underestimate vision’s impact on performance, overlook potential problems, and mistake simple screenings for comprehensive eye exams. “The best possible vision is critical to a child’s educational success and learning ability,” says Sherry Workman, NACCP executive director. “Studies show a direct link between poor vision and learning disabilities, delinquency, illiteracy, and social and emotional problems. The good news is that this condition is preventable if parents and teachers join forces to ensure that all children are armed with proper preschool vision care.” To tackle this serious health and education gap, Sears Optical, in partnership with The Vision Council of America and in association with NACCP and Children’s World Learning Centers recently launched a national education program, called “PEEK: Preschool Eye Exams are Key”, to raise awareness among parents and educators about the critical need for children to receive a comprehensive eye exam by age 5 or before entering school. For more information about the PEEK study, helpful tips, and other frequently asked questions on vision-related issues, visit www.searsoptical.com.