Symptoms of learning-related vision problems include:
• Headaches or eye strain
• Blurred vision or double vision
• Crossed eyes or eyes that appear to move independently of each other (Read more about strabismus.)
• 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
• Losing place while reading, or using a finger as a guide
• Slow reading speed or poor reading comprehension
• Difficulty remembering what was read
• Omitting or repeating words, or confusing similar words
• Persistent reversal of words or letters (after second grade)
• Difficulty remembering, identifying or reproducing shapes
• Poor eye-hand coordination
• Evidence of developmental immaturity
If your child shows one or more of these symptoms and is experiencing learning problems, it’s possible he or she may have a learning-related vision problem.
To determine if such a problem exists, see an eye doctor who specializes in children’s vision and learning-related vision problems for a comprehensive evaluation.
If no vision problem is detected, it’s possible your child’s symptoms are caused by a non-visual dysfunction, such as dyslexia or a learning disability. See an educational specialist for an evaluation to rule out these problems.
How Do You Pinpoint a Functional Vision Problem?
Reading through these issues, you can see that there may be overlap in some areas. Your child may have a number of different functional vision problems and the ripple effect can be felt throughout their studies.
To pinpoint exactly what types of vision problems your child may have, consult a developmental optometrist for a functional vision test.
School-aged Vision for 6 to 18 years of age
A child needs many abilities to succeed in school. Good vision is a key. It has been estimated that as much as 80% of the learning a child does occurs through his or her eyes.
Reading, writing, chalkboard work, and using computers are among the visual tasks students perform daily. A child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. When his or her vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer.
As children progress in school, they face increasing demands on their visual abilities.
The school years are a very important time in every child’s life. All parents want to see their children do well in school and most parents do all they can to provide them with the best educational opportunities. But too often one important learning tool may be overlooked – a child’s vision.
As children progress in school, they face increasing demands on their visual abilities. The size of print in schoolbooks becomes smaller and the amount of time spent reading and studying increases significantly. Increased class work and homework place significant demands on the child’s eyes. Unfortunately, the visual abilities of some students aren’t performing up to the task.
When certain visual skills have not developed, or are poorly developed, learning is difficult and stressful, and children will typically:
• Avoid reading and other near visual work as much as possible.
• Attempt to do the work anyway, but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency.
• Experience discomfort, fatigue and a short attention span.
Some children with learning difficulties exhibit specific behaviors of hyperactivity and distractibility. These children are often labeled as having “Attention Deficit” (ADHD).
However, undetected and untreated vision problems can have some of the very same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to ADHD. Due to these similarities, some children may be mislabeled as having ADHD when, in fact, they have an undetected vision problem.
Because vision may change frequently during the school years, regular eye and vision care is important. The most common vision problem is nearsightedness or myopia. However, some children have other forms of refractive error like farsightedness and astigmatism. In addition, the existence of eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination problems may affect school and sports performance.
Eyeglasses or contact lenses may provide the needed correction for many vision problems. However, a program of vision therapy may also be needed to help develop or enhance vision skills.