We all want the best for our children. A good education is the basic foundation for success in later life. Which might make it troubling if your child doesn’t seem to be coping well with school life. Maybe they’re disruptive, or taking more time to learn the basic concepts.

It can be extremely worrying – you might be concerned that they have some sort of learning disability. That, in turn, could lead you to worrying about how they will cope with the rest of their schooling. And, more importantly, their futures out of school as well.

But, before you start thinking of changing schools or putting your child in a special class, do one simple thing. Ask them how easy it is for them to see the chalkboard, or to perform basic tasks like reading letters. Your child’s “problem” could have a lot more to do with their vision than you might think.

And you can’t rely on the teacher to spot this kind of problem either. Teachers in most public schools have too many children in their classes. If this wasn’t the case, they’d spot the “problem” pretty much immediately. If they have thirty other kids to look after, though, this becomes a lot harder to do.

Could My Child Have a Vision Problem

1. Surely, I Would Know?

You would think you would know if your child had vision problems, but these might only come to light when they start school. School imposes structured learning. They are forced to concentrate for longer periods of time and focus on reading and writing.

A child who can manage easily enough when it comes to tasks they are accustomed to, may find that it is hard to adjust. As they start progressing through school, more is required of them and they might find that learning is very hard for them.

Because they’ve never had to cope with this much of a demand on their visual skills before, they battle.

2. What Signs Should I Be Looking For?

The signs to look out for include:

  1. A shortened attention span
  2. A lot of blinking or rubbing of the eyes
  3. A shorter attention span
  4. Short attention span
  5. Covering up of one eye
  6. Tilting their heads to one side or the other
  7. Holding their books very close to their faces
  8. Covering one eye
  9. Tilting the head to one side
  10. Double vision
  11. Not being able to keep their place when they are reading
  12. A hard time remembering what has just been read
  13. Discomfort or fatigue when doing schoolwork
  14. A reluctance to do visual work or reading
  15. A disconnect in comprehension when doing the work
  16. Frequent headaches
  17. Possible misdiagnosis as having ADHD. Children with an undiagnosed vision problem may exhibit the same symptoms as those with ADHD. Before giving your child Ritalin, consider a visit to the ophthalmologist at the Eye7 Chaudhary Eye Centre.

3. But My Kid Had No Problems Earlier On

Vision can change often while your kids are still growing. So it is possible for a child’s vision to deteriorate as time goes on. The most common problem that kids experience is myopia. There are a lot of other vision issues that could present themselves.

Watch how well your child does when it comes to coordination and tracking when playing sports. Not all kids excel at sports, but these problems could indicate that they cannot see well.

4. Will They Have to Wear Glasses?

That will depend on the extent of the problem, but contact lenses or glasses may prove necessary. For younger children, glasses are probably a safer bet. But it might not stop there. They might need vision therapy sessions as well to help fully develop their visual skills.

5. Visual Therapy?

There is a lot more to being able to see well than just having perfect eyesight. A lot of what we “see” depends on how our brain interprets and responds to visual stimuli. If a child has a problem with seeing properly, it could also affect the following skills:

  • The ability to focus on one visual reference
  • Comprehension – being able to understand the words properly and visualize what they mean
  • Using both eyes in unison and focusing them effectively
  • Recognition of letters
  • Recall ability – recall is improved by using visual stimuli. If they child cannot see properly, recall might be negatively impacted

Visual therapy will help them to improve these skills, the glasses will help improve their visual acuity. The visual acuity is only a small part of the equation. This affects how well the child will be able to read the board, and their work.

Visual therapy will work on improving the following skills:

  • Focusing of the eyes: Exercises might include switching back and forth between objects near and far. This will help the child move quickly from reading the work on the board, to writing notes.
  • Eye tracking: These exercises will help the child maintain focus on their target object, even if it is moving. So, they’ll be able to stay focused on the line they are reading. Or, in sports, will practice tracking a ball that is thrown to them.
  • Eye teaming: This seems like an odd phrase to use. It simply means that children practice using both eyes at the same time.
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    Hand-eye coordination: This helps them catch the ball that they see coming at them.
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    Visual perception: This is their ability to properly organize the images that they see. This is what helps them to put together words and connect them to ideas. This aids in recall later.

6. Conclusion

It’s easy for us to write kids off as not “bookish” or as being disruptive. There is always, however, a reason for them to behave this way. Most kids would prefer to fit in when it comes to school. If a child is acting out instead, it could be a sign that they are unable to see properly.

It’s important to get this problem dealt with as early on as possible. The sooner the problem is corrected, the better your child’s chances of catching up later. If you notice the signs mentioned above, consult your ophthalmologist.

(Last Updated On: October 23, 2018)

A qualified doctor, Dr. Kyra Russel Jr. is someone who wears many hats, working also as a health writer, author, researcher, and media medic. She is a master communicator who is passionate about putting convoluted health information into words that make the information widely accessible. Her primary interests are child and adolescent health, women’s well-being, beauty, and nutrition.

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