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Does your child have trouble reading? It’s important that you don’t assume what the problem. Dyslexia and vision issues are different (i.e., most dyslexia is not caused by vision issues), and they each require specialized treatment. Check out the symptoms of each problem to identify the one affecting your child.

Symptoms of Vision Problems

If your child displays any of the symptoms below, it’s time to schedule a vision test:

  • Eye-rubbing
  • Teary eyes
  • Swelling or redness in around the eyes
  • Crusting or a pus discharge
  • Light-sensitivity
  • Bulging eyes
  • Droopy eyelids
  • White, yellow or gray-white material in the pupil
  • A change in sight ability or the appearance of the eyes

While these issues clearly can interfere with reading and learning to read, they are mainly medical issues, and they require a medical solution.

Dyslexia Is More Often a Language Disorder

On the other hand, reading is a language skill – ir requires interpreting oral language in a text format.  And so the solution to dyslexia is to address the language processing delays that cause most cases of dyslexia.

Here is a list of dyslexia symptoms.  For example, here are some signs of reading difficulty for children in preschool through third grade:

  • Difficulty learning to speak
  • Inability to identify individual letter sounds within words, which causes a switching of the use of similar letters, despite phonics knowledge
  • Difficulty and exhaustion when spelling and reading
  • Inability to memorize facts involving numbers
  • Tendency to replace words with synonyms because of meaning, not the similar appearance of the words

And dyslexic children in fourth grade and higher might show the following:

  • Inability to comprehend text
  • Tendency to memorize rather than understand words and phrases
  • Uncertainty in spelling, and tendency to misspell words copied from existing text
  • Continual misspelling of non-phonetic high-frequency sight words
  • Increasing mistakes when confused, stressed, under time pressure, or in poor health

The symptoms clarify the difference between vision problems and dyslexia: sight problems involve the physical eyes, and dyslexia involves the brain.

*WebMD, 2011. “Signs of Vision Problems in Young Kids.”