Children’s learning capability can be hindered if they have vision problems. Seeing blurry and double vision can affect the ability of comprehension. Children have difficulty in learning to read and later in reading to learn. Vision issues in infancy or adolescence can inhibit their learning growth. Check for signs if your child is also suffering from a learning disability. If they have some learning disability, check whether it is because of a vision defect. Take them for an eye test to know the exact reason that is hindering their growth. You can avail of a free eye test for children under the age of 16.
How do vision issues affect your children?
Weak eyesight can affect the perception of children. They cannot comprehend some letters properly, as they appear blurry to them. They will have a low interest in studies and always find reasons to not study. Following are the common issues that can be from vision issues.
- Decreased reading comprehension— As the child see clearly, they have difficulty understanding what they are reading. The texts appear blurry to them. They focus hard to see the text clearly, which takes most of their attention. They cannot comprehend what they are reading.
- Disorientation— As the brain can’t comprehend what the eyes see, leaving the child confused.
- Lack of focus— As reading needs them to stress vision a lot, they easily lose focus.
- Decreased cognitive abilities— This, in turn, will decrease a lot of cognitive abilities. They have trouble understanding instructions.
What are essential vision skills?
A 20/20 vision acuity is required to see clearly and function normally in daily life. Apart from that, there are vision skills that are equally or even more important. These skills help in adjusting to life, learn, develop and grow. Not being able to perform any of these skills can limit the overall development of the child.
- Fixation— This is the ability to focus on a certain target for some time. This ability is required when learning. If the child has difficulty in holding the gaze for some time, then they will have difficulty reading. This ability is also required in daily tasks and even sports.
- Pursuit— Pursuit is the ability to chase a moving target.
- Saccade— Saccade is the ability to rapidly shift focus between targets.
- Accommodation— When you are taking notes, you shift your focus from the chalkboard to your notes, back and forth. This ability is used in many other activities.
- Binocularity– Binocularity is the ability to use both eyes simultaneously.
How to improve children’s vision?
You cannot go with the arcane methods to teach children. If your child is facing learning issues, first, find out the reason behind it. If it is because of poor eyesight, prescription glasses can solve most of the issues. If they have eye alignment issues or lack some vision skills, you can develop these skills with some fun activities too. Consult your doctor before trying any of these activities at home.
Solving puzzles and mazes
This activity can help with improving many visual skills like fixation, pursuit and saccade. Whether you are reading, writing, driving or playing any sport, you put all of these skills to use. You follow the target, rapidly shift focus and comprehend. When reading, you read words by word, line by line. If you miss even one line or word, the meaning of the sentence changes.
By solving puzzles and playing maze games, the child can improve their ability to fixate and follow the target.
Hold a pen or crayon in front of the child’s eye and make them focus on it. Slowly move it back and forth. This will improve their ability to fixate on a target. You can make this activity more fun by saying that it’s magic while trick. Reward them for following your instructions.
When you are teaching your child to write, ask them to choose a crayon and draw an 8 in front of them. As you do, they will follow your movement. Doing this every day will improve the child’s fixation. They will be able to focus better.
Draw images or letters on a ball and play catch with your kid. When they catch the ball, ask them what they saw in the ball before catching. This activity will help in improving their ability to chase targets, focusing better and using both their eyes together.
More important than therapy is to participate together with the child. Spend some time drawing together, make the child copy what you are making. This will improve the child’s ability to fixate and accommodate. Doing this will help them in adjusting in school where they have to take notes.
Apart from activities, you should do these tasks to improve your child’s eyesight.
- Limit their screen time. 3–4 hours in front of the TV or computer is harmful to children. Reduce this time gradually by engaging them in other activities.
- Give them a balanced diet and lower the consumption of fast foods.
- Make them wear prescription glasses most of the time if they are prescribed glasses. Adjusting to glasses fast can help them in overcoming their learning difficulties caused by vision issues
- Make them participate in at least one sports activity. By learning to play any game or sports can help in improving their visual skills and also overall growth.
- Go for routine eye tests. Eye tests for children are free with NHS. Get their eye tested routinely and to ensure healthy eyesight.