If your child is struggling in school, there may be a myriad of underlying reasons, but one common issue that is often overlooked is a vision problem. If your child can't see clearly, he or she will struggle to pay attention in school, and he or she may even get bored and misbehave.
However, it's important to note that difficulty seeing is not the only vision problem that can affect a student. Many students also have difficulty controlling their eye muscles while reading. If your child is having trouble reading, it could be his or her vision. Here is what you need to know:
Eye Movements and Reading
The muscles in your eyes do a lot of complex things as you are reading. As one part of your eye is focused on looking at a word and decoding it, another part of your eye is focused on the next word. Basically, your central vision focuses on the word you are reading, and your peripheral vision tells your eyes where to focus next.
As you read, your eyes do this over and over, and the process is almost imperceptible. However, if you have tracking problems, your eyes are not working this seamlessly. Instead, they are jumping all over the page.
Poor tracking skills cause readers to easily lose their place or skip words in the text. If a child does this at school, it can often be misinterpreted as dyslexia or another learning disorder. Although difficulty tracking sometimes exists alongside of learning disorders, it is not a learning disorder—it is a vision disorder.
Testing for Tracking Difficulties
If you are worried that your child has tracking difficulties, your child can have his or her tracking skills tested at a regular eye exam. To test this function, the eye doctor will simply ask your child to follow the movements of a small object, and as your child does this, the eye doctor will watch his eyes. If your child can't follow the moving object, that indicates that he or she has ocular motility or tracking issues.
Types of Tracking Difficulties
There are three different types of issues that can create tracking difficulties in a child. These issues are as follows:
- Trouble focusing: This issue with the muscles from the interior of your eyes causes blurry vision and trouble paying attention (visually) for long periods of time.
- Eye teaming issues: Eye teaming is the ability of your eyes to work together. If the eye muscles do not work together, it can be hard to keep your place while reading.
- Restricted peripheral vision: If your peripheral field is too small, tracking will also be problematic.
Treatment for Tracking Difficulties
If your child has a tracking difficulty, there are several different types of treatment that may help. In some cases, just getting a new prescription for glasses can help, but in other cases, your child may need to get vision therapy.
Vision therapy is a series of exercises that your child does to improve his or her tracking skills. The exercises vary based on the type of problem your child is having. In addition to doing exercises, your child may be given special lenses or prisms to hold over his or her reading materials. These accommodations can be extremely helpful for improving your child's tracking skills as he or she works through his or her vision therapy sessions.
If your child is having trouble at school, call an eye doctor like http://www.checdocs.org. An eye doctor will test your child's vision and his or her tracking skills. A simple eye exam could be what your child needs to succeed.