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Children and Vision

Even children with “perfect eyesight” often suffer from vision problems that affect their ability to learn and cause them to fail in school.


A case in point: Jennifer is failing in school. She seems bright yet her grades don’t reflect it. As hard as she tries she is unable to do well. Her teacher suspends a vision problem. Jennifer goes to the eye doctor who finds her sight to be 20/20

Jennifer is failing in school. She seems bright yet her grades don’t reflect it. As hard as she tries she is unable to do well. Her teacher suspends a vision problem. Jennifer goes to the eye doctor who finds her sight to be 20/20

By classic visual standards, Jennifer did pass her vision test. However, being able to see 20/20 does not necessarily mean that one has adequate vision. To fully assess a patient’s visual capabilities, it is necessary to test all areas of visual capacity.

The following is a checklist that can be used to help determine if a child is suffering from an undetected visual problem:

1) Appearance of Eyes

  1. One eye turns in or out at any time
  2. Reddened eyes or lids
  3. Eyes tear excessively
  4. Encrusted eyelids

2) Complaints When Using Eyes At Desk

  1. Headaches in forehead or temples
  2. Burning or itching when not reading
  3. Nausea or dizziness
  4. Print blurs after reading for a short period of time

3) Behavioral Signs of Vision Problems

Eye Movement Abilities

  1. Head turns as reads across page
  2. Loses place often during reading
  3. Displays short attention span in reading or copying
  4. Too frequently omits words
  5. Repeatedly omits “small” words
  6. Writes up or downhill on paper
  7. Rereads or skips lines unknowingly
  8. Orients drawings poorly on page

Eye Teaming Abilities (Binocularity)

  1. Complains of seeing double
  2. Repeats letters within words
  3. Omits letters, numbers, or phrases
  4. Misaligns digits in number columns
  5. Squints, closes, or covers one eye
  6. Tilts head excessively while working at desk
  7. Consistently shows gross postural deviations at all desk activities

Refractive Status (Nearsighted, Farsighted, Focusing Problems)

  1. Comprehension reduces as reading continues; loses interest too quickly
  2. Mispronoounces similar words as continues reading
  3. Blinks excessively at desk tasks and/or reading, not elsewhere
  4. Holds book too closely, face too close to desk surface
  5. Avoids all possible near-centered tasks
  6. Compains of discomfort in tasks that demand visual interpretation
  7. Closes or covers one eye while reading or doing desk work
  8. Makes errors in copying from chalkboards to paper on desk
  9. Makes errors in copying from reference book to notebook
  10. Squints to see chalkboard or requests to move nearer
  11. Rubs eyes during or after short periods of visual activity
  12. Fatigues easily; blinks to make chalkboard clear up after desk task

Visual Form Perception (Visual Comparison and Visualization)

  1. Mistakes words with same or similar beginnings
  2. Fails to recognize the same word in next sentence
  3. Reverses letters and/or words in writing and copying
  4. Confuses likeness and minor differences
  5. Repeatedly confuses similar beginnings and endings of words
  6. Fails to visualize what is read whether silently or orally
  7. Whispers to self for reinforcement while reading silently
  8. Returns to “drawing with fingers” to decide likes and differences

Eye-Hand Coordination Abilities

  1. Must feel things in order to assist in any interpretation required
  2. Eyes not used to “steer” hand movements (extreme lack of orientation, placement of words or drawings on a page)
  3. Writes crookedly, poor spaced; cannot stay on ruled lines
  4. Misaligns both horizontal and vertical series of numbers
  5. Uses his/her hand or fingers to keep his/her place on the page
  6. Uses other hand as “spacer” to control spacing and alignment on page
  7. Repeatedly confuses left-right directions

Visual problems can prevent children from comfortably reading and from realizing their full potential.

It is very common for a child to have a visual problem that can go undiagnosed or undetected. Visual acuity (how clearly a patient sees) is only one measure of visual well-being.

Dr Wintrob is uniquely qualified to work with children. Take a look at Dr. Wintrob’s bio to learn more.