Many children struggle academically and have been labeled as having a learning disability when the real problem is with their vision. A standard eye chart placed 20 feet away from a child is usually read with ease, leading adults to believe the academic struggle stems from ADHD or other learning impairment. It’s not until normal, everyday behaviors are observed and used as home vision tests are the true developmental glitches revealed. If your child is struggling academically, put him or her through these home vision tests before putting them on medication and labeling them for life with a disability.
Uses Finger to Follow Printed Lines
If your child uses her finger to follow the printed lines of a book or paper, it could indicate a vision problem called convergence insufficiency (CI). Convergence insufficiency occurs when the eye muscles located near the nose (medial rectus muscles) are weak and have trouble directing the eye inward, which makes it difficult for a child to focus on objects that are close, like when reading a book. A child with convergence insufficiency may also frequently complain of tired eyes, double vision and/or headaches in the front part of the head. A 12 week course of vision therapy is used to treat CI.
Does Not Keep Eye on the Ball
From the time our kids are toddlers and we begin playing catch with them, we tell them to ‘keep your eye on the ball’. Children with a vision problem called Oculomotor Dysfunction (OD) literally can not keep their eye on the ball. They may also have difficulty adding or subtracting numbers that are in a column and may say incorrect words when reading aloud. Oculomotor Dysfunction occurs when the 12 muscles that manage eye movements operate out of unison, leading to ‘jumpy’ vision. A child with Oculomotor Dysfunction has difficulty tracking moving objects and smoothly moving eyes from side to side, like when reading. A course of vision therapy almost always is all that’s needed to cure Oculomotor Dysfunction.
Blinks Rapidly when Changing Eye Focus
If your child blinks rapidly after using a computer, or when looking up from a book to view something across the room, it could be a symptom of Accommodative Infacility (AI). Accommodative Infacility occurs when the eye’s focusing muscles (ciliary muscles) fail to coordinate when the eyes change focus distance from near to far or vise versa. Children with AI often blinks rapidly in an attempt to focus. Keeping her face very close to a paper or book and mis-copying words from text book to note book are also signs of AI. Accommodative Infacility is treated with prescription glasses which help take the strain off of the focusing muscles, allowing them to correct themselves usually before the child reaches adulthood.
Source: Children’s Vision Information Network