Eyesight and School Age

Learning difficulties are related to vision problems

Good eyesight for children is certainly a basic requirement for school success. When the child's vision falls short, the same happens with his school performance. According to a recent study, up to 25% of children experience eyesight problems that affect their learning ability.

Learning difficulties is another thing to worry about regarding children of school age. Even though learning difficulties usually appear in children up to 7 years old, they are often not detected until the child goes to school. Many times, however, learning difficulties can be the result of simple eyesight problems. A refractive fault may be the cause of these difficulties in school or a refractive fault can be combined with a learning problem. If your child reversed letters while reading or writing, his writing is sloppy, he doesn't like or has difficulties with reading, writing or mathematics, he often confuses his right and left hand or the opposite, he faces difficulties in oral communication or has frequent antisocial behavior, then you should consult with an expert. Consult with your ophthalmologist in order for him to diagnose a potential vision abnormality and visit your paediatrician in order to get proper information and a recommendation for a specialist.

What are the vision disorders for children of school age?

The most common vision disorders regarding school age are:

amblyopia at about 4%,
myopia , 5% until the age of 8, 26% until the age of 14 and 30% until the age of 20,
hyperopia at about 90% until 5 years of age and 15% over 5,

What are the signs that should lead us to the ophthalmologist in time?

Parents should look their children in the eyes and observe their reaction in various visual stimuli, since their performance and subsequent success in life is mainly dependent on the proper function of their eyes. If a child that starts school has normal language development, but faces learning difficulties or difficulty in reading, then he might have an eyesight problem.

The symptoms that the parents need to look out for are:

The child always sits very close to the television or reads a book close to his eyes
He loses track of where he is in a text, or skips words and sentences

He uses his finger to follow the words when he reads

He writes sideways

His posture isn't proper when he studies
He easily loses attention and can't concentrate
He squints
He leans his head to see clearly
He is sensitive to light
He rubs his eyes or blinks excessively

He closes one eye to read or watch television
His eyes are unnaturally aligned. Their movement is unnatural
He doesn't easily comprehend what he reads
He is too slow to finish homework
He avoids activities that require close vision such as reading or distant vision such as sports participation or other activities.
He complains about headaches or tired eyes.
He avoids using a computer at school because “it is tiring for his eyes”.
His school performance is decreased compared to the past.

If your child presents one or more of the above signs, you should schedule an appointment with the ophthalmologist. This visit to the doctor will usually show that the child has myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. These refractive abnormalities can be corrected very easily with glasses or contact lenses.

How often should the child visit the ophthalmologist?

Expertise and available technology today offers to ophthalmology diagnostic methods, which prevent many problems, before they become damaging. Some eye disorders may exist without any obvious symptoms and that is why children of all ages should do preventive examinations.

Your child should definitely be examined by an ophthalmologist for the first time no later than 6 years of age. All babies, and especially infants, mainly those that are considered “high risk” (premature labor, family history of eye disorders) should be examined by a specialist pediatric ophthalmologist. This examination is done to verify the good health of the eyes and detect potential problems that may be rare, yet important, like congenital cataract, glaucoma, microphthalmia etc. After that, again in the age of 3 and again when he is starting school. Children of school age need an ophthalmological examination once every 2 or 3 years if they present no problems. But if your child needs glasses or contact lenses, you should schedule the visits to the ophthalmologist every 12 months. We should keep in mind that just as the child grows, so does his vision change which results in a need to also change prescription. Furthermore, your visit to the ophthalmologist will ensure that your child can have proper central and peripheral vision, use both his eyes and easily adjust from close to far distances and the opposite.

We should point out that an ophthalmological examination alone is not enough. The paediatrician will examine the child's vision to detect a possible problem, but he can't replace the ophthalmologist. So, while a paediatrician's examination can be useful, there is always a chance for this examination not to show any serious problems. Parents are mainly those who will need to take initiative and schedule the visits to an ophthalmologist, who will examine the vision of the child thoroughly.

Remember:Your ophthalmologist is the best source for responsible answers on issues related to your eyes and their health. Under no circumstances is information taken from our website intended to replace him. Seek your doctor for complete information.




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