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Kids’ Vision & Learning

There's More To A Child's Vision Than Just 20/20

Even if your child doesn't wear eyeglasses, he or she may be experiencing vision problems. These eye conditions can cause learning problems and substandard educational results. A child's visual acuity (how well s/he can see the eye chart) is important, but there are other factors which may be equally important.  Below are some vision conditions that may affect how your child uses his eyes at school:

Questions Related to Eyesight and Learning

Eye movement skills:

Do your child's eyes move across the page in a book smoothly and accurately?

Eye focusing abilities:

Does your child change focus from near to far and back again - between reading text from a far-away white or black-board and writing on paper?

Eye teaming skills:

Are your child’s eyes working together as a team - do they come together for proper eye alignment for reading?

Binocular vision skills:

Are your child’s eyes blending visual images from both eyes into a single, three-dimensional image?

Visual perceptual skills:

Does your child identify and understand what s/he sees, and then connect that with previous visual memorized information?

Visual-motor integration:

Is the quality of your child’s eye-hand coordination balanced?  Visual-motor integration is important not only for legible handwriting, but also the ability to efficiently copy written information from a book or board.  Sports is another area where eye-hand coordination plays an important role. Deficiencies in visual motor integration can affect your child’s learning ability and/or school performance.

Vision Problems Do Affect Kids Learning

Undetected learning-related vision problems in children are surprisingly common.  Studies estimate that 1 out of 4 school age children suffer from a learning related vision problem.  Children with an untreated vision problems are sometimes mislabeled with behavior problems or ADHD/ADD, when in reality the issue is related to their vision.

Left untreated, these vision problems could hinder your child's learning in school. For example, studies have shown that at least 13% of children between the ages of 9 to 13 suffer from convergence insufficiency, the ability to bring one's eyes together, a task that is crucial for good reading.

Learning-Related Vision Problems

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of learning-related vision disorders are:

  • Double vision, particularly during or after reading
  • Poor handwriting
  • Hyperactivity or recklessness during class
  • Word and letter reversals
  • Easily distracted during reading
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Poor overall school performance
  • Avoiding reading
  • Blurred vision, especially after reading or working closely
  • Eyestrain or frequent headaches

Call us to schedule a comprehensive child’s vision exam if your child exhibits one or more of these signs or symptoms and is exhibiting these types of problems in school.

Comprehensive Child Vision Exam

A comprehensive child's vision exam includes common tests performed in a routine eye exam, but also specific additional tests for detecting learning-related vision problems.

Extra tests would include accommodation (focusing), binocular vision, and ocular motility testing. If a problem is detected, the eye doctor may recommend further testing, either in our office or with a pediatric and/or vision development specialist.

Vision Therapy

Special reading glasses or vision therapy may help your child if s/he has a learning-related vision problem that cannot be corrected with regular glasses or contact lenses. Vision therapy entails eye exercises and other activities specifically tailored for each patient to improve vision skills.

Learning Disabilities and Vision

Although children with learning disabilities often have vision problems that are contributing to their difficulties in the classroom.  Remember vision therapy is a treatment for the vision problems but it does not correct a learning disability. A child's learning ability and school performance may indicate learning disabilities either with or without vision problems.

Once your child’s comprehensive vision exam is completed, our eye doctor will advise you if he feels a program of vision therapy could be helpful. We will gladly connect you with a children's vision or education/learning specialist, if we do not provide the specified additional services your child needs.