As much as 80% of all learning is visual, and experts estimate that over half of childhood learning difficulties trace back to undiagnosed vision problems. How can parents help ensure their child doesn’t experience the setbacks of an undiagnosed vision problem?
The simple, unfortunate reality is that children don’t have the life experience to recognize the difference between what their eyesight should be like and what it’s actually like. They think their experience is universal, which makes it much harder for them to describe a problem to an adult. It might manifest in the form of fidgety, distracted behavior, failure to complete assigned tasks, or general crankiness.
Adults will often decide they are misbehaving instead of looking for an underlying problem, and the takeaway for the child is that their best effort isn’t good enough. They may end up believing that they aren’t good learners or that school isn’t fun, even though the reality is simply that they can’t see well and could get help for it.
Children’s inability to self-report their vision problems isn’t the only obstacle toward diagnosis. Many children never receive comprehensive eye exams, relying only on the school nurse and the big E chart. The problem here is that a school nurse is not an eye doctor and the big E chart can only diagnose nearsightedness. It WON’T diagnose any of the following:
A few eye problems have very obvious symptoms, such as constant squinting or an eye pointing the wrong way, but others require more training to catch. You can keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms if you’re wondering whether it’s time to bring your child in for a comprehensive eye exam:
As parents, we want to give our children the best chance to succeed in life. Too few parents know what a difference a comprehensive eye exam can make by catching a treatable eye problem that would interfere with their child’s education and development. We’re trying to get the word out! Not only are some of these eye problems often undiagnosed — sometimes they’re even misdiagnosed as learning or attention disorders.