Learning-Related Vision Problems
What are Learning-Related Vision Problems?
Visual skills and visual information processing are heavily involved in reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics. Undetected and untreated vision problems can interfere with the ability to perform at one’s full learning potential and are referred to as Learning-Related Vision Problems. This includes difficulties in:
Eye tracking: the ability to aim the eyes smoothly across a page or while following an object without the eyes jumping around, losing fixation, or using excessive head/body movements.
Eye teaming: the ability to keep both eyes aimed at the same point.
Eye focusing: the ability to keep print or an object clear at all distances.
Visual Information Processing: the ability for the brain to process visual information accurately and efficiently from both eyes. This includes gross and fine motor skills, directionality, laterality, bilateral integration, visual-motor integration, visual memory, visual perception, auditory perception and integration, visualization, reading, spelling, and visual endurance.
Most people believe that 20/20 vision means “perfect vision,” however, there are much more visual requirements necessary for learning than seeing 20/20 on an eye chart or passing a vision screening with a pediatrician. There are over seventeen visual skills needed for reading and learning and visual acuity is just one of them.
Children identified with Dyslexia or ADHD often have undetected vision problems and vision is often the missing piece to the learning puzzle.
What are the symptoms of Learning-Related Vision Problems?
According to the American Optometric Association, 1 in 5 children are diagnosed with learning and attention issues each year in the United States. Children who struggle with reading and learning often end up feeling shame, fear, and anxiety related to schoolwork. Their parents often become desperate for answers as they try to understand why their "smart in everything but school" student withdraws from anything academic or ends up needing discipline in the classroom because they are not staying focused on their work.
Undetected vision problems can lead to the untimely completion of assignments, avoidance of reading and other schoolwork, misbehavior, and a significant reduction in self-esteem. Other signs include: slow reading, poor reading comprehension, difficulty recalling reading, poor performance in class, difficulty paying attention, mistakes in schoolwork and homework, inability to complete tasks on time, reversing letters or numbers, confusing similar words, confusing left and right, poor spelling, handwriting, and math abilities, difficulty following directions, fidgeting during school, giving up easily, becoming easily distracted, overlooking small details, vocalizing or moving lips while reading, difficulty recognizing words in the same sentence, sore eyes while reading, and difficulty copying from the board.
A thorough evaluation of learning-related vision problems is a key step in a multidisciplinary management approach to learning problems.
How are Learning-Related Vision Problems treated with Optometric Vision Therapy?
An optometric vision therapy program for learning-related visual problems helps to train the eyes, brain, and body to work better together. Our program is designed to improve the patient’s visual conditions, eliminate visual symptoms, and enhance visual skills and visual processing so that one may more fully benefit from their academic learning environment. Eyeglasses or contact lenses may boost the effects of vision therapy if prescribed by the doctor. Vision therapy makes use of lenses, prisms, filters, and other specialized equipment during the treatment program. The length of the program can range from several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the diagnosis and patient compliance.