It can be stressful to see your child struggle academically. You may wonder if they have a learning problem, a behavior issue, or a lack of interest. But have you considered that your child may have a vision problem?
Many children have vision problems that affect their learning. The AOA says vision problems hinder reading, writing, and math for a quarter of kids. These problems can be nearsightedness, farsightedness, lazy eye, crossed eyes, or trouble focusing.
Vision is more than just seeing clearly. It involves many skills, such as eye movement, eye coordination, eye focusing, visual perception, and visual processing. Reading, writing, algebra, and other academic pursuits require these abilities.
If your child has a vision issue, they may experience the following symptoms:
Headaches, eyestrain, or fatigue
Blurred or double vision
Skipping or losing place while reading
Difficulty copying from the board or a book
Reversing letters or words
Poor comprehension or memory
Avoiding close work or homework
Low self-esteem or confidence
These symptoms can affect your child’s performance and behavior in school. They may fall behind their peers, lose interest in learning, or act out in frustration. They might also feel bad about who they are and what they can do.
To check for vision issues, take your child to an eye doctor. A regular vision screening at school or by a pediatrician is not enough to detect all vision problems. An optometrist can evaluate your child’s visual acuity, eye health, and visual skills.
Your child may need glasses or contact lenses to see clearly. Ensure they follow the doctor’s instructions on how to wear them. But sometimes, glasses and contact lenses cannot fix all vision problems. Some children may also need vision therapy, a unique exercise and activity program that trains the eyes and brain to work better together.
Vision therapy can help with conditions like lazy eye, crossed eyes, trouble focusing, and visual processing disorders. It is different from eye exercises or online games. An optometrist specializing in this field supervises the vision therapy and customizes it to your child’s specific needs and goals. It can take several weeks or months to complete depending on the problem.
Besides getting your child the proper eye care, you can also support them in other ways. Here are some tips to help your child with vision issues:
Encourage your child to take breaks from screen time and close work. This can prevent eyestrain and fatigue
Provide good lighting and comfortable seating when they do their homework or read. This can help them see better and avoid eyestrain
Communicate with your child’s teacher and school about their vision issues. Let them know about your child’s diagnosis, treatment, and progress. Ask for any accommodations or modifications your child may need in the classroom
Praise your child for their efforts and achievements. Vision issues can affect your child’s self-esteem and confidence. Encourage them to celebrate their talents and skills instead of dwelling on their struggles or difficulties
Vision issues can significantly impact your child’s learning and development. If your child is struggling in school, do not ignore the possibility of a vision problem. Get them an eye exam by an eye doctor and follow their treatment recommendations. Addressing your child’s vision issues early can help them overcome their challenges and achieve their full potential.
For more on pediatric eye care, visit TMS Eyecare at our Arkansas City or Wichita, Kansas offices. Call (620) 442-2577, (316) 686-7212, or (316) 669-4760 to schedule an appointment today.