Vision Problems and Learning
Children don't always realize that they are having vision problems, afterall their vision is the only vision they have ever known. It’s important to be on the watch for signs that suggest your child may be struggling to see. Some of the more common signs include:
- Blurry vision or double vision
- Squinting or holding objects close to the eyes
- Headaches or eye strain
- Turning or tilting the head or covering or closing one eye
- A strabismus (turned eye)
- Excessive blinking
- Rubbing, tearing, itchy or burning eyes
Most of these signs are fairly intuitive, but there is a long list of other signs and symptoms that are linked to vision and learning that aren’t so obvious. Some of these include:
- A dislike of near work (for example, a dislike of playing with Lego)
- A short attention span
- Day dreaming during work time
- Skipping words, letters or lines when reading or taking notes from the board
- Using a finger or moving the head to track when reading
- Trouble reading, difficulty remembering what was read or poor comprehension
- Delayed learning of the alphabet
- Persistent letter, number or word reversals
- Problems with laterality
- Not completing assignments on time
- Difficulty with geometric shapes
- Poor hand-eye coordination
- Poor performance in school
- Behaviour problems
If your child is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to address the issue with your family’s doctor of optometry. Treatments such as vision therapy or reading programs may be needed to help with the underlying vision problem. If you are the least bit concerned, book an appointment today with your local doctor of optometry.
Vision is one of the most important components of learning, with studies showing that 80 percent of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually. If a child’s vision and eye health is not in top form, neither will their ability to retain, learn and perform basic tasks. While vision based skills are more noticeable in the classroom and at school, they may be apparent in extracurricular activities as well. Keep an eye on the following activities your child may be participating in for clues that they may be experiencing a vision problem:
- Sports – Specific visual skills such as good depth perception, wide field of vision and effective hand-eye coordination are useful when participating in sports. Clues to a vision problem may be hitting the rim of a basketball hoop consistently, or a delayed swing at a baseball.
- Reading – Good vision is naturally required to read, and subtle clues may hint towards issues with vision. Watch for children losing their place while reading, or using a finger to track where they are on a page.
- Watching TV – While sitting too close to the TV cannot damage your eyes, it may be a sign that your child has a vision problem. Also watching while tilting the head or with one eye closed.
- Computer Use – Children often spend too much time in front of the computer, but avoiding the use of a computer because it’s causing eye discomfort may signal a larger issue.
Refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism are often the culprits for learning and skill development issues. However, there are also cases relating to more serious issues pertaining to a child’s overall health.