Has your child been struggling in school lately, and you don’t know why? Though there are a number of things that could be going on from comprehension to behavioral or learning disabilities, vision problems are at the top of the list. Unfortunately, eye care tends to go to the bottom of the list (after a pediatrician and dentist) when it comes to children’s health. As a result, many school-aged children suffer from uncorrected vision problems.
Impaired Vision Reduces Educational Experience
From reading words in a textbook to view pictures or videos on a computer or television screen, much of how your children learn is visual. When their vision becomes compromised, it hinders their ability to learn properly. Unable to communicate their vision problems or frustrations with learning, many children are diagnosed with behavioral or learning disabilities without ever having their vision checked.
Pay Attention to the Signs
Your child may not be able to come right out and tell you that something is going wrong with their eyesight. If this issue has been going on since they were young, they may not even realize there is an issue. As a parent, it is imperative that you pay attention to signs and immediately look for a pediatric specialist at facilities like Shaper Vision Centers Ophthamologists to treat the problem.
What exactly are you looking for? Here are some signs below:
Holding Things Close – Do you notice that your child needs to hold things close to see? Maybe they sit directly in front of the television. Or have to hold a book to their face to read the words? If you notice this happening often, this could be a sign that your child is nearsighted and needs to be seen by an eye doctor for treatment.
Clumsiness – Though it may seem that all your children are clumsy at one time or another, if you notice that your child is always running or bumping into things, you may want to have their vision checked to be safe.
Head Tilting – Does your child often tilt their head when they’re reading? This could be a sign of a muscle imbalance in the eyes.
Headaches – Those complaints of a headache may not be as simple to resolve as giving them pain meds and letting them take a nap. If your child regularly complains of frontal headaches, it could be because they’ve strained their eyes trying to see clearly.
Light Sensitivity – If your child often squints or complains of a headache when under certain types of light, this could be a sign that they’re suffering from exotropia.
Behavioral Issues in Class – Has your child’s teacher reached out to you with regards to a change in your child’s behavior in the classroom? Maybe they complained that your child is easily distracted or quick to anger when participating in reading or other visual activities? Before you assume, there is a learning or developmental disability to worry about, have their vision checked. If they are having problems seeing, but don’t know how to voice this. Their short attention span and bursts of anger could be the only way they know how to respond.
Slipping Grades – A child who cannot see clearly is not going to perform well academically. Beyond behavioral issues, you will see it in their grades. If they can’t read well, their comprehension declines. They may have trouble with spelling tests or struggle with lessons taught on bright screens like computers and tablets.
What to Do
If you have noticed one or more of the signs above, you should immediately have your child visit an eye doctor. Though many school nurses require students to take an eye exam in school for their records, this is not always foolproof. While schools perform basic vision tests, an optometrist has the experience and tools needed to do a more in-depth exam. After having a full vision screening, the eye doctor can suggest solutions ranging from eye medication and glasses to surgery, if necessary.
School is supposed to be a fun and diverse experience for children. When something as essential as your vision has been compromised, learning, and absorbing information as they should become a challenge. If there have recently been concerns about their grades or behavior in school, it is important to get to the root cause. While it could very well be a developmental, behavioral, or learning disability, it is important that you don’t rule out their vision. You never know if something as simple as eye drops or glasses could help them to excel in the classroom and beyond.