Teachers can help identify serious vision issues! Checklist below!


Many teachers suspect that some of their students have vision problems, but is there a way they can know for sure?

Teachers are in a unique position to observe children at work and play. This is important because children seldom complain about vision problems. To these children, the world has always looked distorted or blurred. Or they have always skipped words or lines while reading. They say, “It’s always been this way.”

These children can’t see through another’s eyes, so they have no “normal” vision to compare with their own. And since they often avoid uncomfortable visual tasks, they seem to be symptom free. Yet, children do reveal learning-related vision problems in their behavior. One of the most common is a child who fails no matter hard he tries. In fact, increased effort actually interferes further with a child’s ability to take in and use his visual information.

Providing appropriate vision care for children does not cure learning problems, but it does provide a solid foundation of visual abilities that a learning team can build upon.

Here is a checklist parents and teachers can use to “screen” students for learning-related vision problems. If more than one or two signs are checked, a complete behavioral optometric evaluation is in order.

  • Headaches in forehead or temples when studying
  • When reading, head (instead of eyes) turns to follow lines of print across the page
  • Requires a finger or marker to keep place while reading
  • Displays short attention span while reading or copying
  • Repeatedly omits small words while reading
  • Orients drawings poorly on page
  • Extreme tilting of head while working at desk
  • Must touch things to assist if any interpretation is required
  • Writes crookedly, poorly spaced; cannot stay on ruled lines
  • Repeatedly confuses left-right directions
  • Confuses the same word in the same (or next) sentence
  • Unable to describe what has just been read
  • Whispers to self (subvocalization) for reinforcement while reading silently
  • Comprehension declines as reading continues; loses interest too quickly
  • Makes errors in copying from chalkboard to notebook
  • Makes errors in copying from reference book to notebook



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