January is National Eye Care Month

January 03, 2015

During January, National Eye Care Month, start the new year by looking into your child’s vision. According to the Vision Council of America, nearly 50% of parents with children under 12 have never taken their children to an eye care professional. Typically parents know to schedule a traditional eye exam, which involves testing vision by reading an eye chart. However, there are also symptoms that can be signs that other healthcare providers could address due to the negative effects on academic, emotional, and life skills. Beyond visual acuity, which measures the clearness of vision, a child could also have deficiencies with visual perception and visual motor skills.

Visual perception includes skills that determine how well a person understands what is seen specifically with skills including memory and discrimination of forms such as shapes, letters, and numbers. Visual motor skills include how well the muscles around the eyes coordinate to control eye movement.

10 Signs of Visual Concerns in Children 

1)    Bumps into objects or people

2)    Has difficulty putting away or sorting objects

3)    Has difficulty paying attention to visual tasks

4)    Reverses or misreads letters, numbers and words

5)    Has difficulty copying or writing within lines or margins

6)    Has difficulty remembering phone numbers

7)    Has poor spelling, math skills, and/or reading comprehension

8)    Skips words or entire lines when reading, or reads the same sentence over

9)    Rubs eyes often or complains of eye strain

10) Routinely fails to observe or recognize changes in bulletin board displays, signs or posted notices

If your child demonstrates these symptoms, consult with your primary care physician about seeking an evaluation with a pediatric occupational therapist or developmental optometrist. I hope you find these tips helpful. Have a playful day!

Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L

Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and Founder of Playapy. For more information, visit www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

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