There are many factors that can contribute to learning problems; however, some children experience difficulty in school because they are not visually ready to learn. If a child’s visual abilities are not entirely developed, they may mistakenly be labeled as learning disabled or as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). In fact, the underlying problem for many of these children may be an undetected and untreated vision problem. Studies have shown that at least 20% of school-aged children suffer from eye teaming or focusing issues that make it difficult to remain on task for long periods of time. They may be mislabeled with ADD or ADHD. These patients are easily distracted, have short attention spans, take a long time on or do not finish assignments, are fidgety and off task. These attention problems can sometimes be due to an underlying vision disorder.
Patients who have difficulty using their eyes together for reading and other near tasks, will begin to struggle due to experiencing double vision, blurry vision, or words jumping on the page. These symptoms cause a great deal of eyestrain and the child will do whatever they can to get rid of these symptoms. This could include: daydreaming, getting a drink, going to the bathroom, being disruptive, talking to others around them and having poor attention skills. The child is not aware that the way they are seeing is not normal and they do whatever they can to avoid those symptoms. They will become more fatigued and frustrated as the day continues. Unfortunately, parents and teachers are not trained to recognize the difference and many patients are misdiagnosed. That is why it is critical if your child has these symptoms or have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, that they have their vision evaluated by a developmental optometrist.