Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Look for the Signs

As August comes to a close, another school year is just beginning for thousands of Texas children. This year teachers and parents should keep a close eye on their child’s behavior as it could be a good indicator of a vision problem.

Did you know that a whopping 80% of children diagnosed with learning disabilities or poor learning performance actually have vision problems like myopia (nearsightedness), strabismus (crossed eye) or amblyopia (lazy eye)!

And did you know that 80% of learning in a child’s first 12 years of life comes through the eyes! With numbers like these so high, it’s important for those who spend the most time with kids, like parents and teachers, to pay close attention to the warning signs.

Here are 3 questions you should ask yourself:

1. What do my child’s eyes look like?

If your child’s eyes don’t line up or if one appears crossed or looks out, then your child may have an eye disorder like strabismus or amblyopia. If your child’s eyelids are red-rimmed, crusted, swollen or if their eyes are watery or red, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible.

2. How does your child act?

 Signs of a possible vision problem can also be seen in your child’s body language. If your child is rubbing their eyes a lot, closing or covering an eye, tilting their head forward, blinking more than usual, or squinting or frowning, they could be indicating they are having trouble seeing.

3. What does your child say?

 If your kids are saying “everything looks blurry” or “I see double” these are obvious warning signs that something is not right with their vision. However, kids can also say “my eyes are itchy,” “my eyes are burning” or “my eyes are feeling scratchy,” all of which are also signs of a vision problem. The most unexpected things a child could say though are “I feel dizzy,” “I have a headache” or “I feel sick/nauseous.” Though these can often be attributed to your child not feeling well, if these symptoms persist, it could definitely be a sign of a vision problem.

It’s important to remember (though easy to forget sometimes) that children often think that they are supposed to see the world blurry or out of focus. Kids often don’t realize that they aren’t able to see and they think that’s just how everyone else sees. It’s important to talk to your kids periodically about their vision and to notice the warning signs early on so that your child can get the help they need.

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