Signs and Symptoms of Vision-Based Difficulties

What Symptoms Do Adults and Children Experience
That Result from Issues with Vision?

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 Functional Vision Evaluation be part of the interdisciplinary evaluation of all children who are struggling in school or adults who are experiencing visual issues that may interfere with daily living.

The emphasis is normally on learning difficulties faced by children, but adults are learning new things everyday, on the job and in their personal lives.

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

Do you or your child exhibits the following symptoms...
-Complains of blurred vision?
-Rubs eyes frequently?

Possible Vision Problems: Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, or Astigmatism (inability to see clearly in the distance or up close)

Do you or your child exhibit the following symptoms...
- Closes or covers one eye?
- Occasionally sees double?
- Rubs eyes frequently?
- Able to read for only a short time?
- Poor reading comprehension?

Possible Vision Problems: Eye coordination problems (inability to coordinate the eyes together effectively)

Do you or your child exhibit the following symptoms...
- 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?

Possible Vision Problems: Eye focusing problems (inability to easily refocus eyes or maintain clear focus)

Do you or your child exhibit the following symptoms...
- Moves head excessively when reading?
- Frequently loses place, skips lines when reading?
- Uses finger to keep place?
- Poor reading comprehension?
- Short attention span?

Possible Vision Problems: Eye tracking problems (inadequate ability to smoothly and accurately move the eyes from one point to another)

Do you or your child exhibit the following symptoms...
- 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?

Possible Vision Problems: Faulty visual form perception (inability to discriminate differences in size, shape, or form)

Do you or your child exhibit the following symptoms...
- Trouble visualizing what is read- Poor reading comprehension?
- Poor speller?
- Trouble with mathematical concepts?
- Poor recall of visually presented material?

Possible Vision Problems: Faulty visual memory (inability to remember and understand what is seen)

Do you or your child exhibit the following symptoms...
- Sloppy handwriting and drawing?
- Can't stay on lines?
- Poor copying skills?
- Can respond orally but not in writing?

Possible Vision Problems: Faulty visual motor integration (inability to process and reproduce visual mages by writing or drawing)

Do you or your child exhibit the following symptoms...
- Trouble learning right and left?
- Reverses letters and words?
- Trouble writing and remembering letters and numbers?

Possible Vision Problems: Difficulty with laterality and directionality (Poor development of left/right awareness)


Here is a Symptoms Checklist you can use to determine whether you or your child has vision-based learning difficulties.


Symptoms Checklist COVD 

Physical Signs or Symptoms of a Vision Problem in Children and Adults

    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 Functional Vision Evaluation 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.

Source:  Symptoms of Vision-Related Learning Difficulties


Please note:  In-office therapy under the direction of a behavioral optometrist using prisms, filters and lenses, as used with our patients, is far more effective than home-based therapy.


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