We've heard it before; an undetected vision or eye health problem can affect a child's academic performance. However, you might not have heard it can also affect a child's behaviour and social skills.
Many parents and guardians aren't aware that an undiagnosed vision problem goes beyond poor academic performance. In fact, poor vision can lead to reduced social interaction because of the inability to see properly.
A child may shy away or be excluded from playing team sports since their vision problem is affecting their hand-eye coordination. They may also avoid watching the latest 3D movie with their friends because they have reduced depth perception and can't enjoy the movie the way their friends can.
Along with social interactions, an undetected vision problem can affect a child's behaviour in the classroom. For example, a child who is farsighted (hyperopic) may have problems reading and focusing on their textbooks. If their hyperopia continues to go undiagnosed, they may try avoiding their work and in the process become disruptive out of frustration.
Most kids don't complain about their vision because they either have a hard time articulating their vision problem or think everyone sees like them.
In addition to problems uncovered during a comprehensive eye exam, at York Medical Eye Care, we are equipped and capable of detecting and treating binocular vision dysfunctions. These are problems with eye coordination and focusing, which are often seen in children and adults that can see 20/20. Studies show that binocular vision dysfunctions are present in 1 in 10 people. These problems can affect reading and learning, and often go undetected. Once diagnosed, binocular vision dysfunctions can be treated with optical correction, vision therapy, or a combination of the two.
These factors are why a comprehensive eye exam is critical to a child's overall development. Eye exams conducted by an optometrist can detect, diagnose, and treat eye conditions that may be the root cause of a child's behaviour or reclusive tendencies.
The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends children start receiving comprehensive eye exams starting at 6 months, before starting kindergarten and every year thereafter.
An undetected vision or eye health problem may be holding your child back socially and interfering with their behaviour. At York Medical Eye Care, Dr. Patrick Cheung and his team can help remove the vision-related barriers that may be hindering your child from living a full and enriched life.