Seeing is believing, and 80% of what your child is taught in the classroom is learned visually. Regular comprehensive eye exams provide a foundation for your child’s visual health and can detect vision problems that can get inaccurately diagnosed as learning or behavioural problems. Hidden, uncorrected vision problems can affect performance in the classroom and on the sports field, and may even lead to self-esteem issues. Here is a list of our top 10 behavioural warning signs that could be masking a vision problem in your child.
Your child may say they dislike reading, change the subject when asked to read, or avoid it all together. They may become angry or frustrated when told to read, their emotions masking an undiagnosed vision problem.
Your child may lose their place while reading or hold the reading material closer than normal and need their finger to keep their place on the page. Repetition is another indication, for example making frequent reversals of the same sentence while reading.
If you find that your child is rubbing their eyes more often, it may be due to a vision problem. Their eyes may be dry, watery, or red, or they may be blinking more than usual. As your child struggles to focus their eyes become tired, hence the rubbing because their eyes are sore.
Your child may complain of headaches or fatigue after reading or other visual activities. Other symptoms may include discomfort or a general weariness when ask to engage with visual stimuli.
If you child can’t see properly then they’ll find it difficult to concentrate. Their attention span and reading proficiency will decrease. They themselves may not be aware that it is a deficiency in vision that is causing their lack of interest or inability to concentrate. Untreated vision problems can elicit some of the same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), such as distractibility and hyperactivity.
You may notice your child squinting while reading or watching television, or your child sitting too close to the television or computer screen. Squinting is a reaction to a lack of focus and is a sure indication that your child’s eyes need to be tested for vision impairment.
Your child’s academic grades may be slipping, and you don’t know why. If your child cannot read clearly they will be unable to properly understand or retain the information they are being taught. If your child is seated at the back of the class, they may be unable to read the board clearly. They may attempt to do assigned schoolwork anyway, but with a lower level of efficiency.
A child with vision problems may complain of double vision or blurred vision, especially when looking up and down, such as copying from the board. They may be sensitive to light or complain that the text on the page is moving, or going in and out of focus.
A child with vision problems may have difficulty in social settings or in sports. They may appear to be clumsy, show impaired hand to eye coordination, or be awkward with personal space boundaries.
Many treatable eye conditions such as nearsightedness, ‘lazy eye’, ‘crossed eyes’, and colour blindness are genetically inherited, so knowing your own eye health and visual proficiency may be the key to diagnosing a vision problem in your child. Ensure your optometrist asks about your child’s medical history, and of anything that could be related to their eye health.
Vision impairment can be easily and speedily corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Good vision care is essential to every child’s development, so don’t let an undiagnosed or uncorrected vision problem hamper your child’s school experience. Scheduling a regular eye exam for your child is not only a smart and proactive decision but a necessary precautionary measure to minimise eye problems and see to it that your child enjoys going to school and has the ability to reach their full potential in the classroom. Contact iSight Optometry today, or drop by our practice to learn more. We’d love to see you.