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Ask Dr. Julie: Why Don’t My Kids Tell Me They Are Seeing Double?

see double

A question we hear in the clinic a lot of times is, “Why don’t my kids tell me that they see double vision?” Or, “Why didn’t she say that she was noticing this?” Or, “Why didn’t I know that the print wiggled around on the page when she was reading?”

Well, the biggest reason for that is that kids don’t know what they don’t know. A lot of times they don’t know that the problems that they’re having visually is something unusual, wrong or off, or not what would be considered normal. They may not report it to you because they think that that’s the normal, and everybody else probably has the same stuff.  They might be thinking, “I won’t say anything” or “Well, if I say something, then Mom’s going to think something’s wrong with me.” They might stay zipped because they don’t want to create a problem or have you think something’s wrong.

There can be a lot of other reasons. Those are the two absolutely most common. They just don’t know what they don’t know. They think it’s normal that everybody sees that way and why complain. Or the second reason that’s most common is they don’t want to be pointed out as there’s something wrong with me. Right? “I just want to be normal.” And so oftentimes it is here in the exam room, during the evaluation process, that we’ll hear it for the first time, “Yeah, I always see double. Yeah, each time I read the words wiggle around on the page.” Oftentimes the parents are like, “What? You never told me.” Okay, so don’t feel bad if you’re the parent of someone who’s not said something to you but you found out they actually have some problems using their two eyes together. It’s fairly normal and it’s fairly common that kids aren’t going to bring it up and tell you what’s going on.

You’re more likely to see something in behavior or see something in performance that’s going to clue you in that there’s an issue, maybe a sports performance, maybe even something with their depth perception, or behavior-wise where they like to stay low and close to your side. They don’t like to venture out too much. They don’t make friends easily. Maybe they don’t like to play on the playground as much and you’re wondering why they don’t want to go down the slide. Another sign is they are not picking up words more than two or three letters is a very common one if they see double vision.

So there’s a lot of things you just want to consider. Don’t feel bad about it. You didn’t know and they didn’t really know to tell you either. So it’s not really anybody’s fault, but be thankful when you figure out what it is that there’s something that you can do about it. When it comes to that point, then contact us. Our phone number here is 618-288-1489. You can connect with us direct and ask us, “What do I do? I just found out this is what’s going on.” You can go to our website at, fill out a questionnaire, then we’ll start the process of connecting with you to talk about how we might be able to help you or your child.