Reader question: clumsiness due to vision issues, or normal kid clumsiness?

This question came in from Ingrid, whose daughter Paris is 3, and wears glasses for nearsightedness in one eye, her other eye needs no correction (anisometropia). – Ann Z

I am wanting to ask parents of children with anisometropia whether they find their child particularly clumsy?  It is something that really plays on my mind as it is hard to know whether a certain amount of clumsiness is just part of being a three year old child who does everything at full speed or something more sinister.

Take today for example, I picked Paris up from kindy to hear that she had a bad nose bleed today as she ran full speed into a metal bar in the playground. I could see the remnants of blood in her nose and she had a nasty bruise on the bridge of her nose. Then she collided with another child later in the day.  Immediately I think it is her vision, however my husband always assures me that she is just a busy three year old and our other children did the same. It’s so hard not to worry though. I hate the thought of her misjudging distances due to her anisometropia. She is -4 in her right eye with -2 astigmatism and plano in the left so the difference is significant.  It breaks my heart sometimes.

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22 responses to “Reader question: clumsiness due to vision issues, or normal kid clumsiness?

  1. hi, my son has anisometropia and i do have the same worries as you too.
    His teacher at his nursery tells me that he falls over quite often. But that’s because his feet point inward (nothing structurally wrong from what we see just a habit , or maybe vision related?)and he trips over his feet quite often.
    When he watches tv , he looks at it with the eye that is plano. (the other is -7)I have spoken with a vision therapist and she told me that that could be because the size of the images are different in each lense when he wears his glasses.the funny thing is when we remove his glasses , his head tilt disappears. She advised contact lenses but we would like to wait till he’s a little older. His amblyobia is not one hundred percent ‘cured’ (for want of a better word) but he has made a great deal of progress and the visual acuity in both eyes are quite balanced; just one line difference on the logmar chart (with glasses) any one who have kids with anisometropia wearing contact lenses? do they really help?

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  2. YES, I think having a difference (ours is .2.5, -8.5) throws of their balence and depth perception. SHe is ALWAYS running into things. Some of my friends even lovingly joke that it is not a true playdate until mine gets hurt. We carry ice packs and a first aid kit everywhere and have taught her to put her hands out as bumpers and to be wary of new situations (ie unfamiliar playgrounds) At Elliana’s wellness visit when she was 2 years old (already had glasses) The pediatritian gave her a great for everything, but checked the box that said she has an above normal amount of bruises, bumps, and scratches on her skin. I was heartbroken as I felt this was a sign that I wasn’t taking care of my baby. =( Thankfully, now that she is almost 5, we haven’t had AS many accidents!

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  3. Hope your son sounds very similar to our daughter. Essentially she is -6 in her myopic eye (-4 myopia and -2 astigmatism) and plano in the other. She also has achieved great results with glasses and patching and has equal vision now or pretty close to it in both eyes. I also notice she is really only looking through her plano eye though when she watches television. I posed this question of clumsiness to a prominent opthalmologist via an email yesterday and he replied saying ordinarily a difference of such magnitude between the eyes would really throw an adult off balance however children remarkably just adapt and it doesn’t bother them at all. He also said as long as the child had one good eye they should not be clumsy. He said it was part of being a typical three year old, my husband agrees. I think the truth of the matter is we will never really know, or at least until she can articulate a bit better how she sees as she gets older. Ordinarily she is not a clumsy child, however she has had a few “run in’s” of late! It really does worry me. She does run everywhere, they are always telling her to slow down at kindy! As for the contacts, yes, I have heard they are much better for anisometropia as they “do away” with the difference in image size kids get from wearing glasses with different powers in each lense. My doctor said he would just continue with glasses for the time being as she doesn’t mind wearing them and it would be a lot of work for me to get one in and out every day. I am very very keen to try a contact though and will definitely take that step in a year or two. She will be four in November. How old is your son? Thanks for your response Amanda. I think you can also rest assured that some kids are just more prone to falls and accidents. If it’s any consolation, my older daughter was much more prone to accidents and bumps and bruises and doesn’t wear glasses! As you said too, it will definitely get less and less as they get older! It did with my eldest! Keep the comments coming, so good to talk to others in the same boat!!

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  4. I don’t think it’s the eyesight. Some kids are just more accident prone than others. My cousin with good vision (6 years old) was a mess from his first step. My son who has all sorts of visions issues (5 years old) anisometropia & amblyopia was always steady on his feet, great balance, great at sports.

    Is she tall and skinny? I find the kids that are all limbs are klutzier.

    I have anisometropia. I believe +1.5 and -1.5. I promise you I don’t notice the difference in the size of the images wearing glasses. I also have no balance issues.

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  5. Just to be sure, i spoke to 4 yo son’s teacher today and she told me that she doesnt think that he is much clumsier than the other kids in his class. She told me that he does run a lot more than the other kids and he trips over stuff cuz hes always so eager to get to the playground! 🙂 And you are right, i think he has gotten better with age. He doesnt really fall over that much now that he is almost five. Its just that whenever there’s an accident , i will think, could it be vision related.i guess i am a little paranoid! I know he has good depth perception because he watched the 3d show at the london eye (we live in the uk) and he was able to see the 3d projections. ALso he passes all the 3d tests with flying colours at the doc’s office..
    So if having depth perception means that he is using both eyes properly, why does he watch tv with his head tilted (with his eye that isnt myopic)? what is it about tv?

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  6. Yes, you are so right Hope, it is easy to become perhaps a little paranoid when your child wears glasses or has anisometropia that every fall is vision related! It’s only natural I guess. Paris also does everything at full speed so that doesnt help! If Paris didn’t wear glsses I wouldnt give it a second thought! In answer to your question Lori, no, Paris is quite petite actually lol! I am amazed that your son has good 3d vision Hope. Our opthalmologist told me that Paris’s depth perception would not be very good due to the fact of the large difference between the eyes and this would always be the case, however, he said children with anisometropia find other ways to compensate and judge distance and are highly adaptable. I am keen to have this tested again, now that her vision is equal though. It is great to be able to discuss it with other parents. Thank you for responding 🙂

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    • I just found out today that my 5yr old son has Anisometropia 1.00 dpt I have yet to find out what this means yet ? Can anyone help me from going crazy and crying

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  7. Ingrid, I think it a question without an easy answer. Our son’s opthalmologist shares a similar opinion as yours…it is amazing what the brain/eyes of a child can manage and resolve to achieve and function surprisingly well. Is it clumsiness..is it vision related..is it vision related and clumsiness..is it the live and learn bumps and bruises of toddlerhood? Hard to say..likely all of the above. Having run the gamut now from high myopia (-6.5R, -11L) and anisometropia…all the way to a -23 in the left..then a surgery..and now a -8.5 R and a +1L (with an IOL)..our guy has taken many a bump and bruise on the way to becoming a quite well coordinated kid. My best advice is to say trust in your optho..and your childs development. Their achievements, perhaps a little slower..perhaps more carefully planned..or measured..or practiced.. with bumps and bruises..are all part of their growing and learning.. along the way comes stress, worry, anxiety. (the other opinion our Optho shares regularly: just whose stress, worry, anxiety is it anyway? the kid is just going about the business of being a kid, bumps included.. )

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  8. yes George, I am sure the stress, worry anxiety etc is all on the parent’s shoulders and not the child at all, still it is hard not to worry (especially if you are naturally a worrier like me!!). You are right though they are just going about the business of being a kid! That is a great achievement you have had with the surgery! Does your son have strabismus at all George? Paris has an intermittent outward drift in her myopic eye, fairly well controlled with glasses. I am amazed how each child is different, I have heard of children with a much bigger difference between the eyes than Paris and yet they have no strabismus!

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  9. We have been lucky to reverse the amblyopia George. She started out with pretty bad acuity in that eye even with glasses and she is pretty much at 20/20 now when corrected. The PO said that it was pretty remarkable to achieve such a result with such a big degree of anisometropia so we are very very thankful for that. However the two things that now bother me are the drift and she is very sensitive to light with that myopic eye and in sunlight or outside she closes that eye.

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    • It s a remarkable achievement, congrats! We too have noticed occasional issues with glare..I think maybe the thickness of the lens may cause distortion? (wondering…not sure..)

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  10. Hi there i am new to this, my daughter who is almost 3, has been diagnosed as farsighted, we got prescription glasses for her at +2, the problem is when we put them on, she only keep them on for 30secs, and takes them off because she says she can’t see? is this normal, does it take time for them to adjust to seeing through the glasses?

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  11. Hope – I worried that my oldest daughter’s vision (very farsighted +7,+6 astigmatism) caused her bumps and bruises until I had a second daughter without any vision problems. My second is 3 and she runs into everything, trips on everything and often get a bloody nose. When she falls, she reassures me “I’m okay,” before running off again.

    Debbie – My daughter who is 5 now has been wearing glasses since 15 months. It took a while before she was used to her glasses. Even now when she gets a new prescriptions it can take one to several days for her to adjust. With her last pair, I offered to take her to a movie if she wore her new glasses the entire movie. I’m sure with a 3 year old getting her to wear the glasses until she adjusts from no from glasses will be much more difficult.

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  12. Hi Ingrid , just want to let you know that i started my son on contacts today (well just one contact lens actually cuz he’s myopic only in one eye) and for the first time , he watched tv without a head tilt. 😉

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    • Hope, if you see this, would you email me? (ann@shinypebble.com) I’d love to have you write a post about your son wearing contacts, but I wasn’t sure how to reach you.

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  13. Hey Ingrid, he just turned five. We gave it a lot of thought and consulted a few vision specialists before we decided to give contact lenses a go. Basically, his binocularity wasn’t great with glasses because of his high anisometropia and very often, he would compensate with a head tilt. I can’t say much about the experience yet because he’s only just started by I would say that i am cautiously optimistic. i say that because he was catching the tennis ball much better when he was wearing the lense in his eye and also because the ever present head tilt when watching tv was gone. but i am also worried about possible infection and damage so I am extra careful with hygiene. Thank goodness for the invention of daily disposables!
    son’s eyes stung a little when i was putting the lense in but once it was in, it was alright and he seemed to like it . But my husband is a lot more squemish about the putting in and getting out of the lense than i am because i have been wearing contacts since i was 18, and he hasn’t.

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  14. I think that is absolutely wonderful Hope! Same deal with us, high anisometropia. -4 myopia with -2 astigmatism in left eye and plano in left. She does very well with glasses but the opthalmologist said a contact lense will be even better for her when she is a little older as it will drastically reduce the difference in image size, in fact it will eliminate it. I am very excited at the prospect of a contact lense, as she only needs correction in one eye and I am so happy to hear you are having a good experience with it. My daughter is awful at anybody putting anything near her eye though, she screams when she has to have dilating drops so I guess it may be a bit more difficult for us to start the process. However it is definitely something I am going to explore. Yes thank god for daily disposables. Thank you so much for that information, it gives me hope! xx

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  15. Hi Hope, I am just wondering how the contact lenses are going? I am still considering it for Paris and I have make an appointment with a top contact lense fitter who only deals with young children. Fingers crossed. Also, can I ask if your son has any strabismus. Paris has a slight drift outwards in her myopic eye from time to time. I believe this is becasue she has such a difference in the refraction between both eyes, she does tend to still favour that perfect eye. However, thankfully we have achieved 20/20 vision in both eyes with glasses on and the patching has been reduced to just two hours five days per week, as a maintenance thing. Is your son still patching and if so how often ? thank you. Ingrid.

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