Get Help for These Common Vision Problems in Children

18 Aug Get Help for These Common Vision Problems in Children

Vision is much more than seeing 20/20 on a distance chart. It can be discouraging being told that your child’s eyes are fine, but you know there is still a problem in school performance.

Did you know that 80% of a child’s learning is through the eyes? From reading, writing, and taking notes, to working on the computer, going to school involves a wide range of visual tasks.

And because ⅔ of children begin school without ever having had a vision screening, undiagnosed vision problems often interfere with successful academic performance and sports participation.

That’s why regular vision care is so important for your child. Eyeglasses or contacts may be effective for some vision problems, while for others, vision therapy is needed.

Listed below are 8 very common vision problems in kids that can be missed by a school screening or in a simple refraction, and that may be helped with a vision therapy program.

#1: Convergence Insufficiency

Does your child have…

  • Double vision when reading or doing near work?
  • Poor depth perception?
  • Headaches when reading for longer than 5 minutes?

Convergence occurs when the eyes turn slightly inward so that you don’t see double when looking at near objects. For kids with convergence insufficiency (CI), sometimes called convergence disorder, the eyes do not align properly when reading and can make reading difficult or strenuous.

Children with CI may exhibit one or more academic difficulties:

  • Difficulty reading, learning, working at near distance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short attention span
  • Frequent loss of place when reading
  • Trouble remembering what was read
  • Words appear to move when reading

As a coping strategy, the student may cover one eye while reading in an attempt to avoid double vision. If left untreated, the student may have unnecessary eye strain causing difficulties in the classroom.

#2: Poor Eye Tracking

Does your child…

  • Lose his or her place when reading?
  • Reread or miss words often?
  • Have trouble hitting or catching a ball?

The American Optometric Association defines eye tracking as “the ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another, moving the eyes along a printed page, or following a moving object like a thrown ball.”

Tracking problems often stem from issues related to the control of eye muscles. The affected student may move his or her head excessively while reading, have a short attention span, and exhibit poor reading comprehension.

#3: Directionality/Laterality Issues

Does your child…

  • Reverse letters when writing (b vs d)?
  • Have trouble recognizing right vs left?
  • Sometimes have issues crossing the midline?

Laterality is the ability to know right from left on oneself, while directionality is the ability to recognize right from left on other objects. For example, when riding a bicycle, does your child understand what it means to make a right or left turn?

Poor laterality may cause a person to reverse letters and is often mistaken for dyslexia.

#4: Poor Span of Recognition

Does your child have…

  • Slow reading speed?
  • Comprehension issues after reading a long passage due to amount of time spent?
  • Poor memory?

Span of recognition refers to how many objects or words on a line can be seen at one time.

Imagine trying to read through a straw. The individual with poor span of recognition may only be able to read one or two words at a time. This makes reading slow and more difficult than for typical students.

#5: Poor Form Recognition

Does your child have trouble…

  • Picking up small differences in like items?
  • Mixing up similar looking words (what vs. want)?

Form perception refers to the ability to recognize objects and identify differences in similar items or words. The student having trouble with form recognition can experience a number of problems including sloppiness, difficulty learning the alphabet, and excessive time needed to complete an assignment.

#6: Poor Visualization

Does your child have…

  • Trouble spelling (especially when not allowed to write the word down)?
  • Issues with math?
  • Poor comprehension after reading or being told a story?

Visualization refers to the ability to create mental images. It is important for spelling, composition, reading comprehension, and math.

Students with poor visualization may have trouble seeing words spelled correctly in their minds, or grasping mathematical concepts like numbers. This problem can also affect handwriting and reading comprehension.

#7: Poor Spatial Orientation

Does your child have trouble with…

  • Clumsiness or running into things?
  • Unorganized drawing or homework?
  • Difficulty copying off of the board?

Spatial orientation is an important visual processing skill. Think of it as knowing where you are in the room or where on the page something may be written. It is crucial for the development of gross motor skills, coordination, and academic abilities.

Problems in this area can affect school performance and participation in sports and recreational activities.

#8: Poor Figure Ground Perception

Does your child…

  • Get ‘lost’ in a page with lots of writing?
  • Have trouble with i-spy games or crosswords?
  • Experience frustration with long word problems?

The ability to focus on a specific object against a busy background is called figure-ground perception. It helps us with everyday tasks such as finding socks in a messy drawer, or finding an item when shopping at the grocery store.

The student with figure-ground problems may struggle to take notes from the board, lose his or her place when reading, or have trouble finding personal items at home. A student that has issues with figure-ground may become easily frustrated or disinterested when looking at too much information on a page while reading or doing homework.

Help Your Child Succeed with Vision Therapy

Let a developmental work-up or vision therapy at Springfield Family Vision help your child succeed with schoolwork and other important activities. We can find the cause of your child’s struggles and will integrate those visual skills so that they become second nature. The earlier, the better.

Contact us today for an appointment with Dr. Katie to see if we can help.

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