Vision And School Performance: Answers To Parent's FAQs About Childhood Vision Correction

Posted on: 26 September 2016

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Some children struggle in school, and while not all learning problems are vision related, about one child in ten has eye trouble severe enough to affect learning. Parents may misunderstand learning problems that come from eye trouble, so here is an answer guide to common questions that can help you get started.

1. My child has perfect vision, so should I even worry about vision trouble?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes. Even though your child may not need glasses, they can still struggle with different types of eye-related set backs. For example, some children may have one eye that is much stronger than the other, leading to focusing or tracking problems. Some children has weak eye muscles which strain easily, leading to tiredness and poor attention span in the classroom. Even if your son or daughter does not need glasses, if there are troubles with learning at school, you should make sure the eye doctor rules out all potential issues, not just far or nearsightedness. 

2. What options are available for eye-related learning trouble?

Your eye doctor will likely recommend vision therapy as a treatment for your child. Vision therapy employs methods that help to retrain the eye to become stronger, straighter, or better. For example, a child with a lazy eye may wear a patch on the strong eye to force the lazy one to straighten and focus more easily. For children that have weak focusing skills, vision therapy will help to strengthen the muscles that allow for farsighted focus, helping to stave off typical fatigue. In some cases, special lenses or prisms can be used to help correct vision.

3. My child has a learning disability. Will it go away with vision therapy?

Some learning disabilities are accompanied by weaker vision, which can definitely make learning even more challenging. However, some eye trouble can exist outside of diagnosed learning disabilities, and some learning disabilities occur independently of vision problems. It is best to make sure that your child has a thorough vision test to make sure they are not struggling needlessly. Sometimes, eye therapy can be effective for improving learning ability if an eye problem exists concurrently with a learning disability. Many children are often diagnosed with conditions like ADHD because they cannot focus or read well, when the underlying issue is actually eye trouble. 

4. Will vision therapy alleviate my child's need for glasses at school?

Unfortunately, the problems corrected with traditional glasses are not the same as problems corrected with vision therapy. For example, a child with strabismus may also struggle with nearsightedness and will need both therapy and glasses. Some parents hope that opting for vision therapy will help to rid the need for glasses, which can be an expense at school where they are often broken or misplaced. Unless your eye doctor specifically recommends it, do not stop your child from continuing with corrective eyewear.

5. Can vision problems affect sports performance? 

Maybe your child does all right in math but really struggles in gym class. Weak focusing ability or trouble tracking moving objects can make it harder to hit or catch a ball, run safely, or avoid collisions with other students. If your child is discouraged about their performance in gym class and their trouble making tryouts for sports teams, check with your eye doctor to make sure their eyes aren't holding them back. With proper treatment, your child could see their active abilities greatly improve.

Some children struggle needlessly in school from undiagnosed vision trouble. If you have more questions about the connection between academic ability and eye problems, contact a vision therapy center like Absolute Vision Care.