Renowned Ophthalmologist Dr. Stewart Shofner Shares Top 10 Signs Your Child May Have an Undiagnosed Vision Problem
Many children have already started back to school. "Starting a new school year can be challenging and it's important for parents to pay close attention to ensure that the learning process is enhanced through good vision," said Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center. Vision is very important for learning, and children experiencing impaired vision could easily be misdiagnosed with a learning disorder.
Vision problems affect one in four school aged children. Left untreated, the problems can worsen and lead to other serious issues as well as cause learning disabilities and behavioral disruptions in school and home. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends comprehensive eye exams especially for children entering preschool and kindergarten. Some experts, and Dr. Shofner agrees, that it is best to schedule an eye examination for children as early as 6 months old and periodically thereafter.
Alarmingly, 10 percent of children that pass an "eye chart" test (or similar test) still have a vision problem that needs correction, according to research published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Dr. Shofner shares top 10 symptoms and signs to determine if a child has vision problems.
1. Headaches. Complaints of discomfort or fatigue after vision activities like reading or looking at blackboard or computer screens.
2. Facial Expressions. Squinting, frowning, or using only one eye.
3. Eyes. Redness, excess tearing, rubbing eyes, or encrusted eyelids.
4. Head. Turns or tilts head while reading or similar activities.
5. Avoids Tasks. Refrains from or doesn't enjoy participating in activities such as: reading, coloring, drawing, or puzzles.
6. Words. Uses a finger as a placeholder while reading, omits or confuses small words while reading. Holds reading materials closer or father away than normal.
7. Activity. Bumps into objects, poor hand-to-eye coordination used for jumping rope, catching a ball, watching or playing 3D video games or movies, etc.
8. Lights. Complains that lighting is too bright or too dim, sees halos/ghosts around objects.
9. Learning. Performs below potential, confuses or omits small words while reading from book or classroom board, struggles with homework assignments.
10. Feedback. Pay close attention to a child's feedback. Or if child is unresponsive, simply ask if a child experiences any discomfort, dizziness, blurred or double vision while performing both home and school activities.
An eye exam will help identify common vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as more serious conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye). Dr. Shofner encourages both parents and teachers to become more proactive in observing the signs and symptoms listed above to ensure children perform the best they can academically and socially. "Sometimes learning problems can be traced to poor vision. And children, like adults, should take a break to rest the eyes while reading or on a computer," said Dr. Shofner. "It is also very important for children to wear eye protection while playing sports or other activities to avoid eye injury."
About Shofner Vision Center
Shofner Vision Center, located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee offers affordable family eye care in a No Fear - No Pressure environment. Shofner Vision Center has by far the most caring, responsible group of professionals you will ever meet. Their staff members pay close attention to details to ensure every patient is given the best experience at Shofner Vision Center. If your child experiences any signs or symptoms of vision impairment or discomfort or if you have general eye health questions, contact Shofner Vision Center at (615) 340-4733, your local ophthalmologist or pediatrician.