Monday, September 22, 2008

Identifying signs and symptoms for a visual problem

Enlace a entrada en español

Detection of visual upsets, mainly in childhood stage, is done when we observe and assess the child’s attitude and behavior when he performs a task.

- Itching, stinging or watery eyes
- Blinks or rubs his eyes a lot
- Frowns or scowls in order to seeing better
- Blurred vision at distance or at near
- Rigid body or moves his head forward or backward when reading or looking at a remote object
- Very close distance when watching TV, writing or reading a book
- Has difficulty for copying from the board
- Unusual eyestrain when finishing a task or decline in the reading after long periods
- Omission of tasks at near
- Fatigues quickly during reading, writing or drawing
- Bothered by the sun and lights changes
- Headache and eye pain
- Negative behavior at school or at work
- Bad head or body posture
- One eye drifts or aims at a different direction than the other (look carefully, this can be subtle). This is significant even if it only occurs when the child is tired or stressed
- Closes or covers an eye, or twists or tilts head, when reading and writing or watching TV…
- Double vision

- General difficulties at Reading:
  • Moves head when reading instead of to move the eyes
  • Words slide together
  • Reading speed below chronological age
  • Does not understand what he has read or does not remember it
  • Loses place, skips lines or rereads words or lines
  • Needs to use finger as a marker to keep place
  • Reads in loud voice or moving lips
  • Omits or adds words or tries to guess them from the fast recognition of one part of them
  • Mixes syllables when reading and numbers in maths
  • Reverse letters, syllables or words
  • Avoids reading or other close-up tasks

- General difficulties at writing or in the hand’s motor skill:
  • Irregular and changeable letter size
  • Small spacing
  • Inability to write in a straight line
  • Reverses letters, words and numbers when writing or copying
  • Favors the reading with regard to playing or motor activities
  • Favors oral exams with regards to the written ones
  • When coloring, he can not keep his work inside the lines
  • Does not like to draw
  • Grabs the pencil badly, or takes out his tongue or does strange gestures with his face when he uses his hand to perform something that requires eye-hand coordination
  • He is slow when he has to follow a dictation

- Difficulty to comprehend and perform instructions
- Bumps into things
- Sometimes he appears clumsy
- Becomes easily distracted
- Has a short attention span and needs a lot of rests
- Poor concentration
- Homework takes longer than it should
- Poor visual memory
- Negative and/ or aggressive character
- Troubles for adapting to the changes
- Gives up easily (says “I can’t”, before trying)
- Dizziness, nausea or motion sickness
- Poor posture when sitting down and working
- Incapacity of being kept sat down on a chair more of 5 minutes
- Walks on tiptoe
- Balance troubles
- Confuses right and left in himself and/or in the space past age 7 (and sometimes up and down)
- Poor performance of sports or coordination of hand-eye and foot-eye (ball skills and team games): catching and hitting a ball
- Etc.

These manifestations will help you yourself to detect if any child, in your environment, may have an undiagnosed visual problem.

Moreover, in the optometric office, the professional will give you or ask you a brief questionnaire about the child, his development and his visual habits. Sometimes it is very long and tedious or even sometimes, you do not know what relation, some questions may have with the eyes or with the problem that you bring to the office; but there is not random question in these questionnaires, all of them give very important information that will help the optometrist to achieve a better diagnosis about the problem that the child has got. Therefore, even though everybody thinks that their children are wonderful and perfect, think that if you go to the office is because you suspect something, and if so, being as sincere as possible when you fill in these questionnaires is better, because the lies and half truths or half informations or underestimating the details that show where the child is not so handy, will not help; this information is the most valuable in the questionnaire.

An apple a day really does keep the doctor away

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