That’s because as much as 80% of all learning is visual, and experts estimate that more than half of childhood learning difficulties are the result of undiagnosed vision problems. So what can parents do to make sure their child doesn’t experience the setbacks that come with an undiagnosed vision problem?
The simple reality is that a child doesn’t know the difference between normal vision and a vision problem; they only know their own experience. This makes them much less capable of describing what’s wrong to an adult. Instead, they might become fidgety and distracted and fail to accomplish assigned tasks, and an adult might scold them instead of recognizing that there’s an underlying problem.
All the child knows in that situation is that the best they can do isn’t good enough. They might believe they aren’t good at learning or that school isn’t fun, when in reality they simply can’t see well and this is something that could be fixed.
The inability of children to self-report a vision problem isn’t the only reason it could go undiagnosed; many of them also don’t receive comprehensive eye exams before they begin school. Parents may rely on the school nurse and the big E chart to determine whether their kids have healthy eyesight, but the big E chart can only diagnose nearsightedness. It will miss a wide array of problems, including:
Some symptoms of eye problems are very easy to spot, such as an eye pointing in the wrong direction or constant squinting, but others require more training to spot. If your child exhibits some of the following symptoms, it would be worth it to schedule a comprehensive eye exam (and it would still be worth it if they don’t!):
All parents want to give their children the best chance to succeed, and an important part of that which not enough people know about is making sure they don’t have a treatable eye problem that could interfere with their education and development. That’s why we want to get the word out! A lot of these eye problems don’t just go undiagnosed, sometimes they are misdiagnosed as learning or attention disorders!