Most children and young people with sight only in one eye (known as monocular vision) usually adapt to their vision impairment in their own way.
We've put together this guide to help you understand the effects of monocular vision and how you can support your child.
What is monocular vision?
If your child has monocular vision, it means they only have sight in one eye. Children and young people with monocular vision usually adapt by turning their head to one side to see better. If they’re born with monocular vision, they don’t tend to need any adjustments (at school, for example) but that may be different if the monocular vision develops when they’re older.
Most children find that having monocular vision doesn’t limit them in any way and they learn to cope very well.
The effects of monocular vision
How this impacts your child
- Your child may not be aware of people and objects on their blind side, which can be hazardous in unfamiliar, busy or cluttered environments.
- The environment can be confusing and, unless clearly marked, your child may not recognise steps or kerbs. They may mistake changes in surface for different levels, for example, carpet to wood or concrete to asphalt.
- Your child may find it harder to judge speed and distance. Games and playground activities may be difficult, particularly for a younger child, when other children are running around, throwing balls, etc.
- Tasks such as doing up buttons, tying shoelaces and putting things back in the right place could be more difficult for your child and may take them longer to learn.
Tips to help your child navigate the world around them
There are few, if any, early years and school activities that your child won’t be able to do because they only have sight in one eye. Safety is the prime concern, so you must make sure anyone caring for your child is aware of their monocular vision, especially when they’re young. Over time, most children will find their own ways to get around their lack of sight.
Try to keep your home tidy and avoid leaving things lying around, such as toys or other obstacles. Avoid leaving doors or windows half-open, or tables or other furniture sticking out.
Road safety is particularly important. Your child needs to understand how to handle traffic approaching on their blind side and how to take extra care with kerbs, pavements and any other obstacles. Turning their head to make use of their vision and using listening skills will help overcome many of these potential problems.
Whether at nursery, in the classroom or at home, your child needs a good view of any activities.
Parents, carers and teachers should sit on the child’s good side when:
- Teaching new skills
- Correcting work
- Listening to them read
- Giving the child an individual explanation in class
Your child should never be expected to share a book and, when copying text, the teacher should place the text on their good side.
Check that your child is in the best position during:
- Class demonstrations
- Group activities such as computer work
- Watching TV
Your child may need extra supervision when using playground equipment such as swings or climbing frames because they can’t judge height and distance.
Your child is likely to be less accurate than their friends when hitting or catching a ball and they may not see the ball until it hits them. Protecting their vision is essential, so they might need to wear protective eyewear or sports goggles when playing ball games.