Vision is an essential factor in the development of children because they mostly learn by observation. However, it can be difficult to know if a child has an eye condition that is making it difficult for them to see normally. Here are a few warning signs to look for if you think your child may have vision problems:
Children will often rub their eyes throughout the day for various reasons. They may rub their eyes because they feel upset or frustrated or have an itch. However, a child can also rub their eyes frequently if they have trouble with their eyes focusing and working together when looking at things up close. If you notice that when your child sits to concentrate on something, they rub their eyes constantly, they may have a visual issue.
Sometimes, when a child is having difficulty seeing the TV screen, they will move closer. This can be a sign that they cannot see far objects nearly as clearly as their peers. If you notice this and they hold books and reading material close to their face, your child may be nearsighted. This behavior can also indicate a problem with visual processing- your child may have difficulty paying attention to the TV if there are other distractions in the room, so they may move closer to block them out.
Tracking is the ability to follow a moving object or move the eyes along the page while reading. It is a fundamental skill that everyone should develop. If your child has a problem tracking, it can impact many areas of their development. Poor eye tracking skills can cause difficulty with hand-eye coordination, making sports challenging. Poor eye tracking skills can lead to loss of place when reading and poor reading comprehension. If your child has to use their finger to keep their place while reading or seems to get lost on the page when books start to have fewer pictures and more text, they may have a tracking problem.
One way to deal with a vision problem is to avoid situations that rely on that skill. If your child avoids reading, they may have a problem with how their eyes track, focus, or work together which can make prolonged near work difficult. If your child avoids ball sports, they may have a problem with eye tracking, hand-eye coordination, or visual-spatial processing. If your child avoids puzzles, they may have a problem with vision processing skills.
One of the most obvious signs that your child has a vision issue is when their eyes are constantly red. They may complain that they are in pain or their eyes hurt. This could be a sign of allergies or dryness. It could also be a sign of chronic visual fatigue – often caused by an eye focusing, teaming, or tracking problem.
When children are older, it becomes easier for parents to notice vision issues. Reading problems can often be due to a tracking problem – loss of place when reading, slow reading speed, or poor reading comprehension are all signs of a tracking problem. Another is poorly organized handwriting or difficulty copying from the board. Straining to see what the teacher is writing on the board indicates your child might be nearsighted. Difficulty with spelling can indicate a problem with visual memory. Headaches that always seem to occur at the end of the day may be caused by poor eye focusing and teaming. You can confirm certain behaviors with a teacher if you suspect your child has visual issues. The teacher may have noticed odd behavior and assumed it was normal for your child.
For more warning signs of visual problems in children, contact Vision Rehabilitation Associates at our office in Northfield, Illinois. Call (847) 716-2340 to book an appointment today.