VISION PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN
According to Optometry Australia, around one in every five children has an undetected vision problem, which may be hindering their school performance and self-esteem. Whereas most adults can identify when there is something wrong with their vision, children will hardly ever complain, simply because they think everybody else sees the world the way they do.
Some children may present 20/20 eyesight, meaning normal distance vision, and still have functional and perceptual vision skill concerns. Individual functions that relate to brain and nerves, as well as psychology, learning ability and development must also be considered.
Functional and perceptual skills are not identified by standard eye examinations or school screenings, and in most cases, they can be improved with training. Enhanced vision leads to the development of many aspects of learning.
Our behavioural optometrists assist the children of Sydney not just with giving them the best sight possible; they are essentially focused on our patients’ performance so as to allow them to process visual information to their potential. Our services involve the detection and management of children’s vision problems including eye movement, focus, binocular eye coordination and visual perceptual deficits that interfere with the learning process.
Throughout the years, our pediatric optometrists have diagnosed and treated numerous vision problems in children through the combination of accurate glasses prescription and vision training. We love seeing the difference in children when they first walk into our practices, compared with a couple of months down the track. To watch their progress and see their self-confidence flourish is incredibly rewarding.
Here are some of the symptoms of possible children’s vision problems to be alert for:
- Learning difficulties
- Fatigue and reduced concentration
- Poor reading comprehension and short attention span
- Loss of place while reading
- Coordination problems and clumsiness with ball skills
- Eye strain and headaches
- Sensitivity to glare
- Red and sore eyes
- Nausea and motion sickness
- Unusual head turn or body posture when reading or writing
- Difficulty copying from the board
- Letter and number reversals when writing
MORE ABOUT LEARNING-RELATED VISION SKILLS
Eye Focusing – The ability to change focus and maintain clear vision at varying distances. It is critical for learning, reading, writing and sports. Poor eye focusing skills can lead to visual fatigue, reduced reading comprehension, and/or avoidance of close work and other activities.
Eye Tracking – The ability to fixate, track, and jump from object to object (including word to word on a page whilst reading and writing). Poor eye tracking may lead to poor reading and difficulty with writing.
Eye Teaming – The ability to use two eyes together as a coordinated team. Poor eye teaming skills can cause difficulties with reading, learning, depth perception, posture and headaches.
Visual-Spatial Awareness – The ability to accurately process spatial information from the environment, including where you are, where other people and objects are, and where you are in relation to these things. If one does not know where they are in space, they cannot correctly aim their eyes at another inhabitant in that space world. Often clumsiness, poor handwriting and setting out of work, as well as directionality issues will arise as a result of difficulties in this area.
Visual Analysis and Discrimination – The ability to differentiate small details and differences, allowing for comprehension of what is seen, written and read. It is the ability to locate, select, analyse and visualise relevant information. Visual-analysis difficulties may lead to spelling, comprehension and expression of ideas becoming a challenge for children.
Visual-Motor Integration – Also referred to as “eye-hand coordination”, these skills have direct correlation with writing and copying from the board or book, drawing, handwriting and pencil-paper tasks.
Visual-Auditory Integration – The ability to link together what is heard with what is seen. Difficulties in this area may lead to problems in seeing a word and saying it aloud, or hearing a word and writing it.