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School-age children are constantly using their eyes in the classroom and at play. For school-age children, a number of visual skills must work together so that they can see and understand clearly. If any of these visual skills are absent or impaired, the child will need to work harder and may develop headaches or fatigue, or have difficulty focusing on different tasks. Increased visual demands of schoolwork can put greater demands on a child’s visual skills, pointing out a vision problem that was not evident before school.

Children may think that their vision is normal - that everyone sees the same way they do. As a result, they do not typically report their symptoms to parents or teachers. Therefore, it is important to know the signs of an undiagnosed vision problem so that help can be offered.

Common signs of a vision problem in children:

  • Squinting or blinking often
  • Rubbing the eyes often
  • Turning or tilting the head to use only one eye
  • Covering one eye to see better
  • Having one eye that turns in or out
  • Reporting double vision
  • Complaining of headaches, nausea, or eye fatigue

Other signs and symptoms of vision problems are associated with vision and learning, however, they might get overlooked as being linked to vision. These include:

  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Having a short attention span
  • Using a finger or moving the head to track when reading
  • Avoiding reading or any activity that requires focusing up close
  • Trouble reading, difficulty remember what was read or poor comprehension
  • Appears clumsy or frequently bumps into things or drops things
  • Not completing assignments on time
  • Poor performance in academics and sports
  • Day dreaming during work time
  • Difficulty catching a ball / other objects
  • Difficulty with geometric shapes
  • Behavioural issues
  • Only a comprehensive eye exam conducted by an optometrist can detect eye health and vision issues before it is too late, because some conditions will not show any obvious signs or symptoms. Early detection allows an optometrist to successfully treat common conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (misaligned eyes), which are best managed while a child is still young.

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    Last modified: 
    Monday, January 31, 2022 - 10:11am