Children with learning related vision problems rarely report symptoms. They think everyone sees the same as they do. Vision is more than 20/20 eyesight. It is a complex process involving over 20 visual abilities and 2/3 of all the pathways to the brain. Nearly 80% of what a child perceives, comprehends, and remembers depends on the efficiency of the visual system.
A child can’t learn to read when the words get jumbled up on the page and he/she can’t remember or make sense of what was just read. Current research indicates that approximately 1 out of 4 children have vision problems which interfere with their ability to achieve.
Why are learning related vision problems so epidemic? Vision is a learned skill, just like learning to walk or to talk. In the past 30 years, games that encourage the development of a good vision skills have been replaced by passive visual activities such as watching television, video, and computer screens.
The average child watches 6,240 hours of television before entering first grade. Many children are programmed for academic failure simply because their visual systems are not sufficiently developed to cope with the demand of reading and writing tasks at the kindergarten and first grade levels.
The Checklist Three areas of concern in detecting symptoms of learning-related vision problems are highlighted in this checklist.
Appearance of the Eyes
Eyes crossed or turning in, out, or moving independently of each other.
Reddened, watering eyes, encrusted eyelids, frequent styes.
Behavioral Indications of Possible Vision Difficulty
Dislike or avoidance of close work.
Short attention span for the child’s age or frequent daydreaming.
Turning or tilting head to use one eye only or closing or covering one eye.
Placing head close to book or desk when reading or writing.
Excessive blinking or rubbing or eyes.
Losing place while reading or using finger or marker to guide eyes.
Trouble finishing written timed assignments.
Difficulty remembering what is read.
Omitting, repeating, and miscalling words or confusing similar words.
Persistent reversals after second grade.
Difficulty with sequential concepts.
Poor eye-hand coordination when copying from chalkboard, throwing or catching a ball, buttoning or unbuttoning clothing or tying shoes.
Displaying evidence of developmental immaturity.
Complaints Associated With Using the Eyes
Headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
Burning or itching eyes.
Blurring of vision at any time.