Information on this page is not intended as medical advice. Concern’s about your child’s vision should be addressed with a qualified health care professional.

From lazy eye to cross eyes, a number of different vision issues can affect a child’s ability to learn in school. Learn more about vision problems that can occur in children and the different types of treatments available.

Nearsighted or able to see better when things are close up rather than far away

  • Learning Issues: May have problems seeing a blackboard from their seat.
  • Prevalence: Occurs in ~ 9% of children aged 5-17.
  • Treatment: Eyeglasses

Farsighted or able to see better when things are far away rather than up close up

  • Learning Issues: May need to hold a book far away in order to see the words clearly.
  • Prevalence: Occurs in ~ 13% of children aged 5-17.
  • Treatment: Eyeglasses

Loss of vision in one or both eyes despite no physical or structural eye problems. Also known as “lazy eye”

  • Learning Issues: May need to physically move head or body in order to see everything in the visual field.
  • Prevalence: Occurs in ~ 3% of people.
  • Treatment: Patching the good eye

Inability to keep both eyes working together (called binocular function) on near distance tasks

  • Learning Issues: Double vision and/or headaches while reading. May complain of words becoming blurry. Or, student will close one eye while reading a book or at the computer.
  • Prevalence: Occurs in less than 5% of people. Rarely seen in children under the age of 10.
  • Treatment: Orthoptic vision therapy

Misalignment of the eyes

  • Esotropia: Turning in of one or both eyes. Also known as “cross eyed”. It is important to have a child examined for esotropia, as this condition may be caused by any number of issues, including diabetes, hyperthyroidism, stroke, or a neurological or genetic condition.
  • Exotropia: Turning out of one or both eyes.
  • Prevalence: Occurs in ~ 4% of people.
  • Learning Issues: May cause double vision (diplopia), which may be described as letters moving on the page
  • Treatment: Depends upon the severity but may include patching the good eye; using eyeglasses, orthoptics vision therapy, or surgery

Rapid and involuntary movement of the eyes, either side-to-side, up-down, or in circles

  • Learning Issues: Reading is a tiresome activity and may be avoided
  • Prevalence:
  • Treatment: May include surgery

Last modified on April 19, 2020