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Are undiagnosed vision problems limiting your child’s performance? | Long Island Eye Doctor

Are undiagnosed vision problems limiting your child’s performance?
Dr. Amy Chang
  • On January 24, 2014

The effects of vision problems are most apparent to me when I have an adult patient with an eye coordination problem.  I ask them if they have any difficulty reading, and they usually reply “No, I never liked reading”  They have learned to live with their vision problem by avoiding certain visually demanding tasks such as reading.  This is an example of how a vision problem can have a major implication on someone’s lives.  All of education is based on the ability to read and learn large amounts of information so having a vision problem can really limit an individual’s ability to pursue higher education.

Now as a parent or caretaker of a school age child, we want to provide for them the best possibilities of success.  Here are some things to look out for :Child_Classroom_Optix

  • Does your child avoid reading, or throw a tantrum when told to read?
  • Does your child take a very long time to complete his homework?
  • Does your child experiences headaches or “tired eyes” after completing their homework?
  • Does your child use his arm or hand to cover up an eye when reading?

If any of these symptoms ring a bell, then it is crucial for you to bring your child in to have a comprehensive eye exam by a developmental optometrist.  Developmental (Pediatric) Optometrists do more than just examine your visual acuity and eye health, they examine and pick up visual disorders that can affect your visual performance, including :

  • Difficulty coordinating your eyes together
  • Trouble focusing your eyes
  • Abnormal, or slowed eye tracking
  • Visual processing disorders (such as sequential processing which is important for math and spelling)

Many children have been mistakenly labeled as learning disabled or dyslexic when in reality their academic difficulties are stemming from their vision!  Even if there is a true learning disability, very often there is a visual component to their academic struggles and a thorough evaluation is crucial to their success.

Your developmental optometrist will perform additional testing, aimed specifically at detecting these vision problems, although to be perfectly honest, many of these problems are not subtle at all, but are often overlooked.  If it is determined that your child has vision problems, there are many options available for you.

  1. Very often a prescription glasses correction can be made to help reduce the symptoms and improve visual functioning.  Bifocals, progressives, or prism glasses are often prescribed.
  2. If it is determined that vision therapy is needed, your doctor will go into details about that service.  Vision therapy is an amazing tool, and just a simple google search will yield many heartwarming success stories.
  3. Recommendations for school accommodations, such as specified seating, or note taking can be made to help the student as they go through their vision treatment.

In conclusion, if you child is a stellar student, can finish their homework quickly without headache or eye strain, that is a wonderful thing.  But if you have a child that you believe is not working to their potential, an eye exam by a developmental optometrist should be on the top of the to-do list.  Schedule your child an eye exam today!


Amy Chang, OD, FAAO

Developmental Optometrist

Optix Family Eyecare


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