Vision Problems In The Classroom Get A Failing Grade
Is your child displaying poor attention in class? Could it be Vision Problems?
Don’t be too quick to assume its Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Your child may have a functional vision problem. A functional vision problem can produce the same signs and symptoms as ADHD. It is estimated that nearly 25% of school-age children have vision problems.
What is Functional Vision?
Eye exams provided at your child’s school or by your optometrist don’t tell the whole story. Your child may have 20/20 eyesight and healthy eyes, but it doesn’t mean your child has adequate visual skills for reading and learning.
Eye exams screen for how clearly your child sees at a distance. They don’t detect eye movement problems or visual processing deficiencies.
Functional vision involves four visual skills that a child needs for learning. They are: tracking, focusing, eye teaming and visual processing.
- Tracking: When we read, our eyes are supposed to jump (or track) from one word to the next. When our eyes don’t track well, it is difficult to keep our place when reading.
- Focusing: A child who has difficulties with focusing will hold a book close to his / her face because the printed words become blurry. Other signs of a focusing problem include headaches and fatigue while reading, and trouble with seeing clearly at a distance after reading. Focusing can also make it difficult for copying notes from the chalkboard.
- Eye Teaming: Our eyes need to work together as a team. When our eyes don’t work together, words on a page (or screen) may appear as if they’re moving. Or we experience double vision. Lack of eye teaming may also affect our depth perception. These symptoms also make it difficult for children to play sports because of weak eye / hand coordination.
- Visual Processing: Good visual processing is needed to make sense of information taken through the eyes. Problems with visual processing affect how visual information is interpreted by the brain.
Does my Child have a Functional Vision Problem?
Studies show that 80% of all learning during a child’s first 12 years is visually based. Scheduling an eye examination at our vision care centre in Oakville will provide you and your child with the results that an eye-chart test cannot.
Below are some signs and symptoms that may alert a functional vision problem.
- Attention or vision proble that resemble ADHD
- Reversing letters and / or confusing similar looking words
- Difficulties copying from the chalkboard
- Messy handwriting
- Squinting or closing one eye while reading
- Dizziness, nausea, tiredness or eye strain while reading
- Low reading comprehension skills
For more information on signs and symptoms to look out for, refer to this article by the Canadian Association of Optometrists.
One or more of these symptoms may indicate a learning-related vision problem. To find out if your child has a functional vision problem, visit our vision care centre in Oakville. Our optometry team may recommend a Functional Vision Evaluation.
A Functional Vision Evaluation will assess if your child’s essential visual skills are working correctly. In cases where your child’s eyes are not working optimally, your optometrist at our vision care centre may recommend vision therapy.
What is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy can help your child learn visual skills such as eye movement accuracy, focusing control and coordination of the two eyes. Your optometrist at our vision care centre in Oakville will prescribe visual tasks and exercises for your child to practice daily. Daily repetition of these exercises can enhance your child’s vision. Our optometry team will help your child with coordinating, strengthening and improving eye movement.
Is vision therapy an effective treatment? It can be, but it takes practice! Improvement will depend on your child’s commitment to follow instructions and practice the exercises prescribed by our optometry team.
The length of treatment varies for each child. Treatment may take a few weeks to a year. Your optometrist at our vision care centre will tailor your child’s therapy based on the type of vision problem your child has, how long your child has had the problem, and your child’s age.
The exciting part is that vision therapy can have a positive effect on your child’s lifestyle. Talk with someone from our optometry team at our eye care clinic in Oakville. They will provide more information on how vision therapy can help improve your child’s vision.
Now that we’re heading into the holiday season, use the break to practice healthy eye habits:
- Schedule an eye exam with our team at our vision care centre in Oakville.
- Learn more about the differences between vision problems and ADHD.
- Practice good nutrition habits and hydration to help your child remain focused.
- Incorporate green and yellow vegetables into your family’s eating plan. These vegetables can prevent dry eye , keep retinas healthy and reduce sensitivity to light.
- Limit screen time to allow your child’s eyes to rest. Overuse of electronic devices can lead to digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome.