Written By: Kierstan Boyd Jul. 09, 2020 | AAO.org
As summer winds down, families of school-aged children scramble to get backpacks, clothes and other supplies ready for the new school year. But one of the most important yet often overlooked necessities is healthy vision.
As children grow and change from year to year, so do their eyes and vision. School demands intense visual involvement. It doesn’t matter if children are in the classroom or learning from home. Learning can involve reading, writing, computer and chalkboard/smartboard work. Even physical education and sports need strong vision. If their eyes aren’t up to the task, a child may feel tired and have trouble concentrating and learning.
Sometimes parents can tell if their child has a vision problem. Their child may squint or hold reading material very close to their face. They may also complain about things appearing blurry. There are some less obvious signs of vision problems as well.
Here are four subtle signs that could point to vision problems in kids.
1. Having a Short Attention Span
Your child might seem to quickly lose interest in games, projects or other lengthy activities.
2. Losing Their Place When Reading
As your child reads (aloud or silently), they may have difficulty seeing to keep track of where they are on the page.
3. Avoiding Reading and Other Close Activities
Your child may avoid reading, drawing, playing games or doing other projects that need up-close focus. Children can be subtle about it and not tell you about the trouble they are having.
4. Turning Their Head to the Side
A child may turn their head to the side when looking at something in front of them. This may be a sign of a refractive error, including astigmatism. Turning their head helps the child see better.
Eye Screenings Are Crucial
Success in school is closely tied to eye health, so kids need regular eye screenings. Our ophthalmologist’s or another trained professional can find and treat vision problems early. The earlier the treatment the better off your child will be—in and out of school. If your child is still having difficulty after their vision problems are addressed, they might have a learning disability. Vision problems do not cause learning disabilities. They are two separate issues. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s vision, be sure to ask your child’s doctor.