Recognizing Vision Problems in Children

April 12, 2023
Recognizing Vision Problems in Children

Good vision is essential for children to achieve their full potential. As parents and guardians, it’s important to be aware of the signs that your child might be struggling with a vision disorder.  

It’s also important to understand the role that occupational therapy and vision-based rehabilitation can play in helping your child learn or regain their visual skills. 

Signs of Vision Disorders in Children 

It is estimated that 1 in 4 school-aged children have some form of vision impairment or problem that requires treatment or correction. Some common signs of vision disorders in children include: 

  • Holds head at angles to read or write 
  • Difficulty with ball skills 
  • Difficulty learning right/left 
  • Difficulty copying from white board 
  • Trouble with sustained reading 
  • Rubs eyes frequently when doing ‘near-point’ tasks 
  • Writing wanders above or below lines 
  • Omitting small words when reading 
  • Losing place while reading 
  • Better understands stories when heard than when read by self 
  • Inconsistent reading abilities  

Paying attention to any changes in your child's performance or behavior that may indicate a vision problem, including frustration with reading, is essential to getting them the help they may need.

Occupational Therapy Vision-Based Rehabilitation 

If you suspect your child has a vision disorder, consult an optometrist or primary care provider for diagnosis and treatment. Occupational therapy (OT) can then be used as part of the process for improving visual skills related to everyday activities such as reading, writing and playing sports. 

Vision-Based Rehabilitation focuses on developing visual motor coordination, eye tracking skills, visual perception abilities and processing speed – all critical components for success at school and home activities. An OT intervention program may include exercises such as focusing on objects close-up and far away; using tools such as accommodative lenses; scanning pages line by line; creating images with blocks; tracing shapes; sorting colors; playing games like pick-up sticks; completing puzzles; and technological-based work to improve eye teaming. 

Benefits of vision-based rehabilitation include: 

  • Improve working memory 
  • Increase attention span 
  • Promote perceptive processing 
  • Enhance motor coordination 
  • Improve visual field 
  • Decrease headaches 

Vision disorders affect millions of children around the world every year and can have serious implications on their quality of life if left untreated. Therefore, it's important for parents to be aware of the signs so they can take action if they notice any changes in their child’s behavior or performance that could point towards a potential vision problem. Occupational therapy plays an essential role in helping children improve their visual skills through fun activities tailored specifically for them – which can make all the difference! With early detection and appropriate intervention strategies such as OT therapy, children with vision problems have much better chances of succeeding both inside and outside the classroom setting. 

Guthrie Occupational Therapy 

Guthrie’s rehabilitation team uses the most advanced technologies available to identify each patient’s underlying issues and track their progress toward learning or regaining their visual skills. 

Ask your eye doctor or primary care provider if a referral to occupational therapy/vision-based rehabilitation is appropriate for your child. 

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