Discovering Vision Therapy Blog

Why Rubbing Eyes Is a Sign of Student’s Vision Problems

Posted by Greg Mischio


Eye Rubbing is Sign of Vision Problem

You notice your child has been rubbing his or her eyes after doing homework or using the computer.  Naturally, he or she is tired, you think.  But the rubbing seems pronounced, and it happens very frequently.  You wonder – could this be an indication of something else?If the rubbing persists even when a child isn’t fatigued from a long day at school, then this may be an indication of a vision problem.  A number of vision issues can cause fatigue, including focusing and eye- teaming problems.

But why do people rub their eyes if they have a vision problem?  Fatigue from eye-strain can actually cause your eyes to hurt, or ache.  If you bump your elbow on something, your first reaction is to rub it.  It makes your elbow feel better.  If your eyes are hurting, the first thing you’ll do is rub them.

Are vision problems the only cause for rubbing eyes?

Vision problems aren’t always the cause of a child rubbing eyes.  Some children may suffer from allergies, for example.  In these cases, you’ll likely notice the eyes are watering or reddened and they will usually complain of itchy eyes.

To determine the cause of the fatigued eyes, consider some other symptoms typical of vision problems. 

            Is your child closing an eye, or covering an eye, when he or she does near work? 

            Is your child struggling in school?

            Does your child complain of excessive headaches, and is often fatigued with homework and reading?

            Does your childhave difficulty paying attention in class?

These are all symptoms of vision problems, and indicates that your child’s insistence on rubbing eyes require a Functional Vision Exam.  The Functional Vision Exam is a great place to start, as it thoroughly tests all aspects of the visual system.  (With typical school vision screenings, for example, only acuity is tested.)

To learn more about other common symptoms, review our previous post 29 Signs Your Child Has an Undetected Vision Problem.

The Vision and Learning GuideLearn how undetected vision problems can impact a child's ability to learn.  Download your free Vision and Learning Guide.

Topics: Learning-Related Vision Problems, Functional Vision Problems