Rule Out Vision

Vision is almost always overlooked by parents and educators as one of the roadblocks a child may be encountering.

Most people believe school vision screenings or pediatric wellness checks are enough to properly assess good vision, because they believe that having 20/20 acuity, or seeing clearly in the distance, is enough.

Schools that do vision screenings are usually only checking eyesight when they have kids read letters on a chart (usually a Snellen eyechart) across the room. This only detects 20-30% of vision problems in children and most do not even check acuity up close.

Just discussing refractive errors, most kids are actually farsighted, not nearsighted, in elementary school. This means they have more difficulties seeing up close than they do far away.

Most kids will pass a school screening but still have trouble focusing up close, sustaining that focus over a short period of time and/or have difficulties changing their focus quickly from far to near. Obviously these skills are essential in activities such as reading efficiently, reading comprehension and copying from the board, yet they are just a few of the essential skills needed for academic success.

If a child does not have a good visual foundation, their system is not efficient enough to handle large work loads because it puts too much stress on such a weak system. Efficient visual skills can help provide a solid foundation for learning.

A poor visual system can lead to poor performance in school.

Vision dysfunctions are treatable. The earlier vision problems are detected and treated, the less time a child may fall behind or have to work hard to maintain their grades in school. If a child is struggling, it is important that you rule out a vision problem. Removing any visual obstacles can provide more opportunities for success.

Following is a list of signs and symptoms that could mean your child has a vision problem:

Signs & Symptoms of Vision Problems

d Failed school vision screening

d Failed eyechart (acuity) test

d Recommendation by:

- Teacher
- Physician
- Psychologist
- Optometrist
- Other Professional

d Behind in school

d Not working up to potential

d Hyperactivity

d Frustrates easily

d Poor or short attention span

d Difficulty reading

- Reads below grade level
- Lose place frequently
- Holds material too close
- Poor comprehension
- Skips lines
- Repeats lines
- Adds extra words

d Has an eye that turns in or out

d Poor eye movements

d Poor hand-eye coordination

d Physically awkward

d Scores low on standardized tests

d When reading/writing:

- Covers an eye
- Turns head to side
- Complains of blur or double vision
- Eyes itch or burn
- Eyes hurt
- Reverses letters/words (>3rd grade
- Headaches

d Trouble in spelling or language arts

d Trouble copying from chalkboard

d Trouble copying from books

d Perception problems

d Failed depth perception/fusion tests

d Poor motivation

d Difficulty writing

- Letter formation
- Cannot stay on line
- Sloppy
- Crowds letters
- Eyes too close to paper
- Grips pencil incorrectly
- Rich vocabulary, but not on paper

d Excessive effort needed to achieve

d Not working up to potential

d Diagnosed with a learning disability

d Trouble in sports

d Does not work well on their own

For another list of problems that can be seen in a classroom, check out the educator's checklist by clicking here.

Do you suspect your child has a vision problem?

If you suspect your child has a vision problem, we suggest finding a doctor that specializes in children and making an appointment for an optometric consultation. Click here to find a doctor in your area.



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