Symptoms Checklist


When Is Learning Difficulty Due to a Vision Problem?



While learning occurs through a number of complex and interrelated processes, vision plays a key role. Many signs, symptoms, and behaviors associated with learning disabilities are similar to those caused by vision problems. This is why it is so important that a comprehensive vision examination be part of the interdisciplinary evaluation of all children who are failing to succeed in school.

Here are some signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate a vision problem.




        Symptoms                                                                          Possible Vision Problems


- Complains of blurred vision
- Rubs eyes frequently
- Squints                                                 

Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, or Astigmatism
inability to see clearly in the distance or up close
- Closes or covers one eye
- Occasionally sees double
- Rubs eyes frequently
- Able to read for only a short time
- Poor reading comprehension

Eye coordination problems
inability to coordinate the eyes together effectively

- Holds things very close
- Complains of blurred vision
- Poor reading comprehension
- Says eyes are tired
- Able to read for only a short time
- Has headaches when reading

Eye focusing problems
inability to easily refocus eyes or maintain clear focus



- Moves head excessively when reading
- Frequently looses place, skips lines when reading
- Uses finger to keep place
- Poor reading comprehension
- Short attention span
Eye tracking problems
inadequate ability to smoothly and accurately move the eyes from one point to another
Mistakes words with similar beginnings
- Difficulty recognizing letters, words, or simple shapes and forms
- Can't distinguish the main idea from insignificant details
- Trouble learning basic math concepts of size, magnitude, and position
Faulty visual form perception
inability to discriminate differences in size, shape, or form
- Trouble visualizing what is read
- Poor reading comprehension
- Poor speller
- Trouble with mathematical concepts
- Poor recall of visually presented material
Faulty visual memory
inability to remember and understand what is seen
- Sloppy handwriting and drawing
- Can't stay on lines
- Poor copying skills
- Can respond orally but not in writing
Faulty visual motor integration
inability to process and reproduce visual mages by writing or drawing
- Trouble learning right and left
- Reverses letters and words
- Trouble writing and remembering letters and    numbers
Difficulty with laterality and directionality
Poor development of left/right awareness

Physical signs or symptoms


Frequent headaches or eye strain
Blurring of distance or near vision, particularly after reading or other close work
Avoidance of close work or other visually demanding tasks
Poor judgment of depth
Turning of an eye in or out, up or down
Tendency to cover or close one eye, or favor the vision in one eye
Double vision
Poor hand-eye coordination
Difficulty following a moving target
Dizziness or motion sickness




Performance problems

Poor reading comprehension
Difficulty copying from one place to another
Loss of place, repetition, and/or omission of words while reading
Difficulty changing focus from distance to near and back
Poor posture when reading or writing
Poor handwriting
Can respond orally but can't get the same information down on paper
Letter and word reversals
Difficulty judging sizes and shapes





How to Identify a Vision Problem

Children should be referred for a comprehensive eye exam whenever visual symptoms are noticed or if they are not achieving their potential. Many of these vision problems will not be detected during a school vision screening or limited vision assessment as part of a school physical or routine pediatric health evaluation.

Locate a Doctor in your area who is experienced and knowledgeable in diagnosing and treating learning-related vision problems.