Several times a month, concerned and confused parents ask me if it is possible that their child really sees words moving on the page while they try to read.
The answer is always a quick and easy, “Yes.”
A child suffering from poor eye teaming, poor tracking skills, or both, can definitely exhibit this visual symptom. It’s frustrating for the child, and not easily understood by the parent or teacher who has never experienced the same vision problem.
Since about 10% of school age children (elementary through high school) struggle with vision problems not diagnosed in basic vision eye chart screenings, it is important for parents to listen to what their child says about how they see things or how visual activities such as reading affect them.
“Sometimes I see double when I read.”
This is a symptom I see quite often during developmental vision exams – especially in children and teens whose school work requires them to begin reading smaller text. When an already taxed visual system is put under stiffer demands, a child can begin to see double, especially when reading or soon after.
“I’m sick to my stomach.”
A child who comes home from school every day with a tummy ache may very well have an eye muscle imbalance problem. Don’t dismiss this symptom. If your child struggles with reading and school work on top of having bouts of nausea, especially after reading, have his or her vision checked.
“Homework gives me a headache.”
Certainly, homework isn’t always fun, but if your child gets headaches during and soon after school or homework, your child may have a vision problem not necessarily correctable by glasses alone. Convergence insufficiency is one of the more common vision problems found in school age children, and easily treatable.
“Sometimes things are blurry.”
The child or teen who complains that things are only blurry occasionally could be suffering from a vision problem associated with poor focusing flexibility. Make note of when your child complains of the blurry vision – is it soon after reading, or after a long day of school work/homework? He or she may have a vision problem that can be treated by exercising the focusing ability.
The fact of the matter is, no parent wants their child to work harder than they have to. Vision problems can make learning a chore for the very brightest of kids. For a full symptoms list of vision problems that affect reading and learning, see the checklist on the home page.