Tracking, the overall eye movement of reading, is made up of innumerable small ‘jumps’ in visual attention, which require correct eye coordination and teaming.
Children with tracking problems will often lose their place, skip or transpose words, and can have difficulty with concentration and comprehension because of inaccurate eye movements.
There are two eye coordination systems active for correct eye teaming, especially for close focus tasks – the aiming system, which allows for correct alignment of the eyes at the point of interest; and the focusing system, which then makes the object of interest clear. The aiming system is controlled by the six muscles outside each eye; the focussing system by the intra-ocular muscles inside the eye. These systems must also work together for far vision tasks like reading from the board. Aside from learning, problems with either of these systems can make a child’s vision ‘uncomfortable’ and lead to intermittently blurred vision for reading, concentration and comprehension issues and behaviours of avoidance.
Children need clear vision and good visual skills for success in schoolwork and sport. Your child needs:
- Visual Clarity – clear vision for far and close distances
- Visual Efficiency – good eye coordination and teaming for concentration
There is much more to vision than just reading letters from a chart!
Up to 90% of what we learn is through what we see.
At least 25% of children may have an undiagnosed vision problem affecting their learning.
Problems with either visual clarity or visual efficiency can cause blurred vision, headaches, slower learning and behaviors of avoidance. Sometimes a child may have no symptoms but can still have an eye problem which can affect learning as he/she gets older. A full eye examination, including assessment of eye coordination, tracking and teaming, will ensure that your child has no visual impediments to his/her learning.
Treatments include glasses, vision training (eye exercises) or a combination of both, depending on what the condition and underlying cause are.
Children and Learning Difficulties – Signs of a Vision-Based Problem
- Complaints of blurred vision
- Poor concentration
- Poor comprehension
- Needing to reread material
- Using a finger to track when reading after age 7-8
- Poor eye-hand coordination (small ball catching)
- Turning or tilting head
- Doing better at maths than reading
- Slow to copy from the board
- Frustration and fatigue with near tasks like reading
- Complaints of words “running together” or “swimming” on the page
- Family history of poor reading skills
- Unwillingness to try something new
If you think you child may be exhibiting some of these signs or symptoms, please call us on (07) 3210 1822 to arrange an appointment with our optometrists. Alternatively, if you have any questions then click here to contact our optometrists.
In 2012 we helped over 2000 children achieve their best vision for learning, and one third of all of our first time patients were children aged 6-12 years.
We know children’s vision and we are great with kids – we make testing fun!
ADHD and Vision.
Research on the link between ADHD and Convergence Insufficiency (CI) – a type of eye teaming problem – has shown that in children with ADHD, CI is about 3 times more common; but in at least 15% of children presenting to a University clinic with diagnosed ADHD, their primary problem is more likely to be undiagnosed CI. These authors stated that ‘the presence of CI may cause a misdiagnosis of ADHD.’ Children with CI have a higher frequency of behaviour issues related to school performance and attention. While eye teaming problems may not be the whole answer to attentional and learning difficulties in children, they can play a small or large part, and in most cases can be easily fixed with vision training (eye exercises) or glasses, or a combination of both.
Is your child’s vision getting worse?
Once a child becomes myopic (short-sighted), it is common for their vision to get progressively worse at a fast rate. Parents can feel helpless to do anything about this progression, which can increase risk of certain eye diseases and limit future options for vision correction. Constant replacement of glasses or contact lenses can also become expensive.
Ortho-K contact lenses are scientifically validated to slow the progression of myopia by around 50%, and in some children even 100%.
Even if contact lenses aren’t the ideal solution for your child, we can explain the latest research to you and give you information about risk factors for progression of myopia. We are experts in this area and are happy to discuss the best options for controlling your child’s myopia. CLICK HERE to read more about the science behind myopia control.