Back to school is always an exciting time for everyone; children are thrilled… or sad, and parents are nervous but also happy to see their children moving on to the next grade. Even though all this excitement might have been hampered by the effects of the pandemic, education and learning remain the same, and all learning begins with our ability to see, process, and store new information from the classroom. Children with a visual disadvantage of any kind are therefore less likely to be successful in learning. Studies have shown that children with blurry vision have slower reading speeds compared to children with normal vision, and are more likely to be mistaken as having a learning disability. The question then is, how can we tell if a child may have a visual problem?
Outside the eye testing room, there are some signs that may indicate a student is struggling visually. I recommend that parents and teachers look for these signs:
- Headaches or eye strain/pain
- Trouble reading, or reading very slowly
- Unable to recognize words quickly, or consistently sounding out words
- Tilting or turning head to one side when reading
- Closing or covering one eye to read
- Rubs eyes persistently
- If they complain about words being blurry or double
- Poor academic performance or difficulty maintaining attention
This is a short list of potential problems a student may encounter, if you suspect your child has a visual problem and is struggling at school please contact your local optometrist for a full visual assessment.