Thirty-six percent of girls and 29 percent of boys ages 6 through 17-years wear contact lenses or glasses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Is your child one of the many who need corrective lenses? Without a frame of reference, some children may not realize that they have vision changes. If you suspect that your child may have trouble seeing clearly, take a look at the common signs of childhood vision problems.
Your child is an avid reader. At least they used to be. Gradually your child has gone from paging through books daily to avoiding the activity entirely. Beyond that, your child's teacher also reports that their formerly literacy-loving student wants little to do with the printed page (or screen).
A sudden avoidance or dislike often raises a literacy-related red flag. Being quick to judge a change in reading enjoyment or ability as a learning issue doesn't always pinpoint the problem. Some children with vision changes have difficulty understanding or expressing their eyesight issues, making it difficult to pick up on some of the symptoms.
Along with investigating possible learning challenges, schedule an eye exam. You may find that your child's loss of interest in reading stems from their inability to see the page clearly.
Gross Motor Challenges
Reading difficulty isn't the only issue that uncorrected vision causes. Depending on your child's vision changes, they may have trouble completing gross motor (movements involving large muscle groups) activities. Throwing a ball accurately, catching a ball, kicking a ball, and playing some sports may become major challenges without clear vision - either near or far.
If your child's sports-related skills change or they suddenly resist athletics and other similar activities, it's possible that their vision is at fault. Along with ruling out physical, developmental, and medical causes, a thorough eye exam can help to determine whether the issue is the result of a vision change.
Drop in Grades
Not only does difficulty reading the printed page affect your child's enjoyment of literacy activities, but it may lead to a drop in grades. Along with reading, writing, completing math equations, making art, and other similar activities are all difficult with a vision issue. Likewise, the inability to see far away (near-sightedness) can cause problems reading a chalkboard for a child with uncorrected vision changes.
In the absence of another explanation, suddenly lower grades may indicate the need for a vision exam. The eye care professional can thoroughly examine your child's eyes/vision and prescribe corrective lenses. If vision is the issue at fault for your child's sudden school slump, it's likely that you'll see increased performance - provided that your child wears their new glasses regularly.
Squinting to see either close or far materials, words, or objects is a vision-related red flag. A once in a while squint isn't always cause for alarm. But if your child consistently squints, an eye exam is in order.
Some children avoid squinting by moving objects closer to their eyes. Noticeably holding books, papers, their tablet, or anything else inches from their face (or tipping their head down to get closer) are all also signs that your child may not see clearly.
Children, like adults, can have headaches. Sinus infections, injuries, and stress can all cause headaches in children and teens. Along with these common complaints, vision or eye issues can result in regular headaches.
The inability to see clearly closely forces your child into working harder to read or see nearby objects, resulting in eye strain and headaches. If a thorough medical evaluation rules out a physical cause for the discomfort, a vision exam is warranted.
Does your child need an eye exam? Contact the offices of Dr. Evans and Dr. Carter Optometry in Chula Vista for more information.