Binocular vision impairments affect at least 12 out every 100 children.
Early detection and treatment is vital.
Consult the Parent's Checklist below and look for early signs of vision impairments such as amblyopia ("lazy eye"), strabismus (esotropia, esophoria, exotropia, "wandering-eye", "crossed-eyes", wall eyes", alternating esotropia, intermittent exotropia, exophoria), double vision, poor visual coordination, convergence insufficiency, accommodation problems (i.e., accommodative esotropia) and more.
PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended to be educational and is not intended in any way as a substitute for medical advice and care from qualified vision care providers -- the reader is advised to consult a vision care professional in matters relating to visual health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention -- See the Directory of Vision Care Providers.
A Parent's Checklist
Look for these signs and symptoms
If you check off several items on the following checklist, consider taking your child for a thorough vision examination that includes the testing of the following visual skills:
You observe the following behavior in your child:
- one eye drifts or aims in 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.
- turns or tilts head to see
- head is frequently tilted to one side or one shoulder is noticeably higher
- squinting or closing of one eye
- excessive blinking or squinting
- poor visual/motor skills (often called, "hand-eye coordination")
- problems moving in space, frequently bumps into things or drops things
While reading or doing close work your child:
- holds the book or object unusually close
- closes one eye or covers eye with hand
- twists or tilts head toward book or object so as to favor one eye
- frequently loses place and fatigues easily
- uses finger to read
- rubs eyes during or after short periods of reading
Your child frequently complains of:
- only being able to read for short periods of time
- headaches or eyestrain
- nausea or dizziness
- motion sickness
- DOUBLE VISION!
Say no more. If your child reports seeing double, please take your child for a binocular vision evaluation immediately. You are invited to request a free referral at the Directory of Vision Care Providers.
Catch Visual Problems Early!
Early detection of visual problems greatly increases the chances of successful rehabilitation. Children should be examined by an eye doctor during infancy and preschool years to detect potential problems with binocular vision. This is particularly important if any member of the family has had ambylopia or strabismus. Testing of binocular teaming skills should be a part of every child's comprehensive eye examination.
A second opinion is warranted when your eye doctor:
- diagnoses ambylopia or strabismus, but offers only surgery and/or patching -- no mention is made of eye exercises or other supporting vision therapies
- recommends surgery only for cosmetic purposes (to make the eye appear straight to others) and does not believe that your child can develop binocular vision
- tells you that it is too late for either surgery and/or patching and that your child can not develop binocular vision.
In the above cases, parents are advised to consult an eye doctor who offers comprehensive functional eye examinations.supervised vision therapy to children, particularly a behavioral optometrist.