CHILDREN’S VISION: WATCH FOR SIGNS
Some of the learning problems your child faces in school may be related to vision. Even if your child has 20/20 eyesight, there may be hidden visual problems that affect your child’s understanding of school tasks. These visual problems can usually be treated with prescription eyeglasses and/or visual training. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) nearly 25% of all school-age children in the
have a vision problem. United States
The AOA found that few of these problems extend to full blindness. Instead, they are often subtle vision problems that can impair or even prevent a child’s development. These visual inefficiencies can interfere with learning, inhibit participation in sports and other activities and create frustration for children of any age.
Unfortunately, because some visual problems related to learning are often mistaken for low motivation, rebelliousness, short attention span, or unwillingness to study, they can be hard to detect. However, sometimes these behaviors can be symptoms of an underlying visual cause.
Parents and teachers can look for the following signs that may indicate visual problems in a child:
- Has short visual and listening attention span; becomes easily bored and restless
- Loses place easily when reading
- Suffers from car sickness
- Trips or stumbles regularly
- Has little or no interest in books beyond mechanical turning of pages
- One eye turns in or out at any time
- Headaches, burning or itching eyes after reading
- Complains of seeing double
- Omits letters, numbers or phrases
- Avoids near-centered tasks
- Covers or closes one eye when reading
- Does not improve, even after continued practice
If these symptoms are discovered in your child, schedule a visual examination. A child’s vision examination differs from an adult. A thorough developmental optometric exam of a child includes a battery of tests. These may be new to you and provide insights not known.
--James B. Mayer, OD, FCOVD
Agape Learning & Optometry Center
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360