The problem may not be learning how to read but a vision problem!

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If your child is following the sentences he/she reads with a finger… Skipping words or lines… Not following the line correctly when writing… and exhibiting other habits that are frequently seen in children, but not paid attention to because the family dismisses them with the excuse that ‘its natural, he is just learning how to read’, the underlying cause may in fact be vision problems that can become permanent if treatment is late!

10 percent of children just starting out in school have reading-writing difficulties for their age.  Families can dismiss such problems with the excuse that it is ‘natural, they are just learning to read and write’. But contrary to what is thought, the problem may not have anything to do with the reading and writing of the child but be an underlying vision problem. When vision problems, which can deteriorate the quality of life for children and cause them to have difficulty in school, are not responded to on time the problems can become permanent. Dr. Emel Çolakoğlu, an Ophthalmology Specialist at the Acibadem Bakırköy Hospital pointed out that every child should have regular eye examinations, even if there are no complaints, to make sure treatment is not too late!

Does your child have a vision problem?reads-with-a-finger

Ophthalmology Specialist Dr. Emel Çolakoğlu listed the 12 noticeable symptoms of vision problems as follows:

  1. Squinting when looking at a distant object,
  2. Bending the head and looking at the point they want to see from a very close distance,
  3. Headaches from reading and writing,
  4. Skipping words or lines when reading,
  5. Following sentences with a finger,
  6. Not being able to follow a line correctly when writing,
  7. Looking at a book with one eye more forward than the other,
  8. Developing a head position,
  9. Saying that words become blurred or shift when reading,
  10. Watching television too close,
  11. Watering of the eyes,
  12. Closing one eye in sunny weather (always the same eye) are all among the symptoms of vision problems.

THE 4 VISION PROBLEMS SEEN MOST FREQUENTLY IN SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN         

Ophthalmology Specialist Dr. Emel Çolakoğlu listed the problems most frequently seen in school-age children as follows:

1. STRABISMUS

reads-with-a-finger-2When focusing on an object or point both eyes should be looking in the same direction. If one of the eyes is looking at the target while the other is looking at another point this is called “strabismus”. When strabismus develops in childhood the child generally favors one eye and uses it constantly. As a result the other eye becomes lazy. Every form of strabismus may not be advanced enough to be noticeable by the mother, father or relatives. In fact some forms cannot even be detected in an eye exam and more detailed examinations are resorted to. Some forms of strabismus can be corrected with glasses. Closing the wandering eye can also help it to focus better.

2. FALSE STRABISMUS

Conditions in which strabismus is imitated are called “false strabismus”. For example false strabismus can develop in the event of eyelid disorders or the base of the nose being flat. In order to prevent unnecessary concern and treatment, a diagnosis must be made carefully to distinguish real strabismus from false strabismus.

3. LAZY EYE

The lazy eye condition occurs when the vision nerve is not completely developed because of a disease that can cause an image that falls on the visual nerve surface to be blurry. A refractive error in a single eye, shifting in a single eye, long term eyelid problems in babies (a droopy eye lid that obstructs the vision axis at birth, an oedema caused by infection or trauma) can cause lazy eyes. By the time it is noticed it is also too late for treatment. Since the development of vision in the brain is completed at about 8-9 years, it is very important to get an early diagnosis to treat a lazy eye properly. Otherwise a lazy eye can turn into a permanent problem. If a patient has lazy eye it is usually treated with glasses as well as a patch to help the vision nerve work better.

4. REFRACTION FAULTS

Refraction faults are usually genetic. Watching the television too close, using a computer and reading a book too close can cause existing refraction problems to emerge or advance further. Refraction faults are observed in 3 forms:reads-with-a-finger-3

-Myopia: Distance vision is blurry.
-Hyperopia: Not being able to see up close clearly.
-Astigmatism: Seeing distance and up close with a shadow due to irregularities in the eyeball diameter.

Glasses provide the best level of vision in refraction faults (myopia-hyperopia or astigmatism).

How often should children be examined?

Ophthalmology Specialist Dr. Emel Çolakoğlu listed how often children should be examined as follows:

  • Every baby, whether they are at risk or not, should definitely have an eye examination within their first 6 months.
  • Children with no problems in their first eye exam should be examined again at about 2.5-3 years of age.
  • Children with no problems when examined at 3 years old at the latest should be re-evaluated again at 5 and 7 years of age.
  • After starting school children should have an eye exam every year.