3 Ways Your Young Child's Homework Issues Could Indicate Vision Problems

Posted on: 14 October 2016

For most parents, getting young children to do their homework -- and do it well -- is a struggle at the best of times. While most families blame bad homework habits and poor grades on laziness and lack of motivation, there's another potential culprit you need to consider if your child is struggling with assignments: poor eyesight. Unsolved vision problems are a huge detriment to a child's education both at home and at school, so it's important that they're discovered as soon as possible. Here are 3 signs you can look out for at home if your child is having issues.

Bad Handwriting

Does your child often get their homework back with comments like 'Illegible' and 'What does this say'? Most children don't have great handwriting given that their fine motor skills are still developing, but particularly bad handwriting could indicate that your child's eyesight isn't up to scratch. Children who can't see well will struggle to copy letters accurately because they're unable to distinguish the shapes clearly. If your little one shows no progression in their penmanship over a long period of time, a visit to the optometrist could be required.

Close Reading

Most people with good vision can read a book while it's sitting on a table or while they're holding it away from their face. However, a child who holds their books very close to their eyes while reading set texts may be doing so because it's the only way they can make out the words clearly. If your child does their homework online or on a computer, you may also see them scoot unusually close to the monitor. Children who can only see text when it's very close to them are usually suffering from myopia, known as nearsightedness. Alternatively, some children suffering from convergence insufficiency (a problem which makes it difficult for both eyes to focus) will close one eye while reading their books or using the computer to do homework.

Missing Words

Missing words pop up (or rather, don't pop up) all over the place when children have eyesight problems. If your little one is complaining that they're not sure what homework they need to do, is it because they've missed things while copying down the instructions? Do you or their teacher struggle to read their homework when checking it because so many small words are omitted? If a child struggles to see what they've written, they often forget that they haven't put down the little filler words like 'and' and 'because'. The same goes for numbers and letters. Occasionally, you may notice the problem in reverse -- some poor-sighted children repeat words because they can't tell that they've already written them.

If your child is experiencing these problems, you may want to take them in to an optometrist. Often times, prescription glasses can be the solution to reading problems.