Are vision problems and behavioral problems related?
According to a recent survey, 39% of parents don’t realize that behavioral problems can be an indication that a child has a vision problem. A child with undetected vision problems may get frustrated or bored in school because he or she can’t see the board, the teacher or read a book easily. Therefore, students with problems seeing sometimes act out.
Studies indicate that 60% of children identified as having a learning problem actually suffer from undetected vision problems.
How do we read?
When we read, we need to:
Aim two eyes at the same point simultaneously and accurately
Focus both eyes to make the reading material clear
Continue to sustain clear focus
Move two eyes continually as a coordinated team across the line of print
When we move our eyes to the next line of print, we continue with the process.
How do we write?
Writing is similar, but almost works in the reverse order to reading. We start with an image in our mind and code it into words. At the same time, we control the movement of the pencil while continually working to keep the written material making sense. Throughout all of this, we focus our eyes and move them together just as in the reading process.
When should a child have his/her first eye examination?
Your baby should have his or her first visual examination at 6 months of age or sooner if a problem is evident. If you notice your baby’s eyes turning outward or inward (lasting more than a few seconds) or any other signs of eye problems, schedule an appointment with a doctor experienced in examining infants.
InfantSee doctors are experienced in examining infants.
Dr. Jill A. Kronberg, a Residency Trained Pediatric Optometrist with Artisan Optics in Boise, participates in the InfantSee program. Dr. Kronberg provides no cost eye examinations for all babies younger than 1 year old (prior to their first birthday).
How do I know if my preschooler has a vision problem?
Watch for indication of any delays in development, which may signal the presence of a vision problem. Difficulty with recognition of colors, shapes, letters and numbers can occur if there is a vision problem.
Parents should watch for signs that may indicate a vision problem, including:
- Sitting close to the television or holding a book too close
- Tilting their head
- Frequently rubbing their eyes
- Short attention span for the child’s age
- Turning of an eye in or out
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing ball or bike riding
- Avoiding coloring activities, puzzles and other detailed activities
Why does my child have trouble playing sports?
Outdoor games and sports are an enjoyable and important part of most children’s lives. Whether playing catch in the back yard or participating in team sports at school, vision plays an important role in how well a child performs.
A child who consistently underperforms a certain skill in a sport, such as always hitting the front of the rim in basketball or swinging late at a pitched ball in baseball, may have a vision problem. If visual skills are not adequate, the child may continue to perform poorly.
Specific visual skills needed for sports include:
- Clear distance vision
- Good depth perception
- Wide field of vision
- Effective eye-hand coordination
Is vision learned or inherited?
We learn to see over time, much like we learn to walk or talk. We are not born with all the visual abilities we need in life. The ability to focus our eyes, move them accurately, and use them together as a team must be learned. We also need to learn how to use the visual information the eyes send to our brain in order t understand the world around us and interact with it appropriately.
We do, however, inherit the tendency to be either nearsighted or farsighted from our parents. Myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism tend to run in families; as do
es ADD, ADHD and autism.
My child dislikes reading. Could this be a vision problem?
Children with convergence insufficiency will start out satisfactorily, but after a short period of working up close will find it difficult to continue reading due to the amount of difficulty with their vision.
Their tendency to look away will make them appear to be disinterested, or have a poor attention span. These same children will appear more interested when they are being read to, or listening. They will then be labeled “attention deficit” or “lazy” when they are simply limited based on their visual abilities.