In my experience of nearly 30 years as a doctor providing vision care for children, one thing that I have routinely found is that a child who is having vision problems does not usually turn to their mother, father or teacher and put into words that describes their vision difficulty. Even a school age child who is having severe double vision, when asked “do you see double?” will usually say “No!” So, asking a child if they have “blurred vision” or “doubleåÊ vision” or trouble mixing up their letters, will typically not yield an accurate responce even if they are!
Therefore, how would you as a parent ever know? The answer is, you need to look for the “tell-tale signs”. What are they? The following are some of the top “tell-tale signs”:
1. Does your child have trouble concentrating on reading activities…but has no trouble concentrating when you orally read the story to him or her instead?
2. Does your child “take forever” to complete their homework? Is homework a battle?
3. Does your child have trouble with copying tasks, such as from book to paper or board to paper? Does their handwriting go uphill and downhill?
4. Does your child have to use their finger or marker to keep their place while reading? Do they skip around on the page when reading?
5. Does your child confuse “b’s” for “d’s” or “p’s” for “q’s” and they are 8 years or older?
6. Does your child ever see words move on the page? Click here to view the double vision demo that you can use to ask your child in a way that they will understand what is double vision.
These are just a few examples that parents and teachers should be on the look out. All too often a child’s behaviors imply poor attention or lack of effort when in fact, the child is having a vision related learning problem.
Be sure that if your child exhibts any of these “tell-tale signs” that you have their vision evaluated by a developmental optometrist.
Refer to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development “Doctor Locator” for the doctor nearest you. Within the COVD membership your first choice should be those doctors who have demonstrated advanced competancy and are Board Certified. They will have FCOVD after their name to show this designation.
Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D.,FCOVD