Reading and Learning Problems

Children’s success in reading, learning, and achieving academically depends on the efficiency of their vision.

Vision is our dominant sense. 80% of how we learn depends on our visual system. The visual system utilizes two-thirds of all our brain pathways to perceive, comprehend and remember. It is estimated that one out of four children have a significant enough vision problem that impacts their ability to learn. Since most classroom learning comes from using the visual system, a faulty system will require more effort and energy than an efficient one.

Vision Skills Needed for Efficient Reading & Learning

Eye Tracking

Eye tracking is the ability to move the eyes from point to point when reading, while processing the information at the same time. If your eyes don’t track accurately, the information on the page may appear to be mixed up or jumbled up. The child may end up losing their place, skipping words and lines, misreading words, and reading comprehension will often be reduced.

Eye Teaming

When the eyes are not able to work together accurately and efficiently as a team, the words on the page may appear to be double, floating, moving, or overlapping. The child may experience headaches, will have difficulty with concentration and often may become frustrated or even angry.

Eye Focusing

Eye focusing is the ability to sustain clear vision for a period of time and to quickly and efficiently change focus from one distance to another. The child may complain of blurry or fluctuating vision, eyestrain or even headaches, will have difficulty paying attention and show avoidance with near work.

Visual Processing

Your brain needs to accurately interpret, decode, and remember what your eyes see. Visual memory is important for spelling, directionality is important for letter orientation, visual discrimination and visualization are important for learning letters, words and recognizing the same word on the next page.

When Vision Skills are Deficient, the Symptoms May Look Like:

Attention Deficit Disorder

If the child has difficulty with eye teaming, the words may appear moving or doubling and it will require more effort to stay engaged which translates to difficulty paying attention to schoolwork. Therefore, it is important to rule out a functional vision problem as symptoms are often very similar to ADD/ADHD.

Dyslexia

When information does not travel accurately from the page to the brain, it may cause problems with learning to read. If eye tracking difficulty is present, the letters may appear to be mixed up or jumbled, making it more difficult for a child to decode words. Functional vision problems are often overlooked in children because school administered assessments done for reading challenges assume vision is working well.

Learning Disability

Children with inefficient or underdeveloped visual processing skills can experience mild to significant learning difficulties caused by the brain’s inability to accurately interpret information that is seen. It is estimated that sixty percent of children who have a Learning Disability also have an undiagnosed vision problem.

Developmental Delays

Efficient visual development is key to a child’s overall development. Vision guides and leads so when it does not work well, it will interfere with the development of other important milestones and skills. An in-depth vision assessment and treatment (if needed) will support more positive outcomes of other professional interventions.

Myths Related to Vision

“20/20” is perfect vision

This cannot be further from the truth. Visual acuity or 20/20 vision is only one of more than 40 visual skills necessary for good visual performance. Seeing the 20/20 line on the eye chart can give a false sense of security, especially if your child is having other related symptoms. A functional vision exam will rule out any undiagnosed vision problems and guide the most optimal treatment for a better life.

“Vision problems are outgrown”

A child with a vision problem will become an adult with a vision problem. As adults, we are simply better at compensating for these vision problems. However, with increased visual demands, many adults end up needing treatment because their symptoms begin to interfere with activities of daily living. Undiagnosed, or untreated vision problems may also limit one’s potential, career choices and requires more effort and more energy to achieve.

“My child is just lazy”

Children are usually curious and eager to learn, but they may lack motivation due to something holding them back. Vision problems are not always apparent or obvious making it hard for parents to know if their child’s visual system is developing normally. A functional eye exam will rule out any vision problems that may be interfering with your child’s potential to thrive.

“My child does not have a vision ​​​​​​​problem, they
just have ADD or Dyslexia”

That certainly may be the case, but undiagnosed vision problems may further complicate the existing diagnoses. If your child’s eyes are not tracking properly, they will be losing place and skipping words. If their eye teaming is inadequate, the words may appear to be moving on the page, making it hard to concentrate on the text, let alone read fluently or comprehend what they just read.

Available Treatment Options:

Performance Lenses

These specialty lenses support the development and function of the visual system. They may be prescribed in combination with a near or distance prescription or can also be prescribed to benefit patients who need functional visual support despite having 20/20 acuity.

Prism Lenses

These special types of lenses support the performance of the visual system by moving light to a position most comfortable for the eyes which relieves visual stress. They may further support the development of binocular vision while the patient is engaged in other therapies.

SHAW Lenses

These unique iseikonic (image balancing) lenses relieve visual stress induced by prescriptions that are significantly different between the two eyes. By equalizing the image size that the brain is receiving from both eyes while using SHAW lenses we can effectively support and enhance the binocular function.

Vision Therapy

An office-based individualized treatment program (along with support of home activities) designed to rebuild efficient binocular vision and other related visual skills necessary for reading and learning. Therapy is designed to be engaging and interactive which produces long term gains in visual acuity, binocularity and overall visual function.

Treatment Outcomes & Patient Successes

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