Could Your Child Have Vision Problems Even with 20/20 Vision?
Vision problems don't always show up when your child reads the eye chart during a vision screening. In fact, your child could have a problem that affects reading, writing, or hand-eye coordination despite reading the 20/20 line on the chart perfectly. Fortunately, many subtle vision issues can be diagnosed during a comprehensive vision examination and improved with vision therapy.
Vision Screenings Only Offer Basic Information About Vision
A vision screening tests your child's visual acuity, or ability to see objects clearly. Although screenings are important, they don't provide a complete picture of your child's vision issues. Although your child may be able to pass a vision screening at school, they could still have a vision condition that causes problems in the classroom or at home.
During a comprehensive vision exam, your vision therapist evaluates eye movements, how well the eyes work together, depth perception, acuity, and other aspects of good vision.
Any of These Conditions Could Make Life Harder for Your Child
It's tough to be the kid who can't catch a ball or stumbles on words when asked to read aloud. Being picked last for sports or struggling to read or do math equations can lead to poor grades and a lack of confidence. Without help, your child could face long-lasting self-esteem issues.
Your child's difficulties could actually be related to one of these treatable vision conditions:
- Eye Teaming or Tracking Problems. Eye teaming issues are common in children and occur when the eyes don't work together to produce clear vision. Tracking refers to your child's ability to follow the words on a page or a ball in the sky with their eyes. If your child has tracking or eye teaming problems, blurred or double vision, or poor depth perception it may make life more difficult. Children may struggle to copy words or math problems correctly, read slowly, lose their place often, or have trouble competing in team sports.
- Strabismus. Strabismus occurs when the eyes aren't aligned properly. It's commonly called "crossed" eyes, but vision problems can happen even if the eyes aren't obviously misaligned. Misalignments cause the brain to receive slightly different information from each eye. Children who have strabismus may squint or tilt their heads to see objects clearly and may have problems with double vision and depth perception. They may also lose their place when reading or mention that words and numbers seem to jump on the page or look blurry.
- Amblyopia. Also called "lazy" eye, amblyopia occurs when the brain ignores the information it receives from one eye. Your child may be more likely to develop amblyopia if they have or had strabismus. Amblyopia can cause blurred or double vision, trouble seeing in 3D, and eye-hand coordination issues.
- Visual Processing or Memory Issues. Vision problems can also be related to the way the brain processes the information it receives from the eyes. Delays or other issues can cause trouble with remembering spellings words, sloppy handwriting, clumsiness, and poor coordination.
- Convergence Insufficiency. Every time you look at an object located a few inches from your face, both of your eyes must turn slightly inward. If you have convergence insufficiency, one of your eyes turns inward more than the other. Slow reading speed, floating words, double vision, trouble concentrating, or fatigue when reading can occur if your child has convergence insufficiency.
Kids with these and other vision issues are often labeled lazy or difficult when they're trying as hard as they can to succeed. Their vision problems can cause headaches, eyestrain, and fatigue when reading, which makes it even harder to pay attention at school or figure out a math problem.
Vision Therapy Can Improve Your Child's Vision
Vision therapy helps children make the most of their vision by strengthening and improving the connection between the eyes and brain. Children participate in age-appropriate activities and games designed to address their unique problems, including video games specially designed to improve amblyopia, strabismus, eye teaming, focusing, visual processing disorders, and other vision conditions.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? Your child could have an undiagnosed vision issue that may be helped by vision therapy. Contact our office to schedule a comprehensive vision examination for them now.
American Optometric Association: A Look at Reading and Vision
American Academy for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, 2/12/18: Strabismus
American Academy of Ophthalmology: What is Lazy Eye, 3/4/20
American Optometric Association: Video-Game Vision Therapy, 4/16