Treatment for Vision-Related Learning Problems
How does vision affect learning?
Over 75% of what a child learns involves the visual system. If any visual skill is not working at its optimal level, this may prevent a child from achieving their full potential.
Difficulties with reading may be caused by a subtle visual dysfunction that may not be detected at routine vision screenings. Standard eye exams typically focus on ocular health and prescription glasses, which are important foundations for vision. However, a child can have “20/20 eyesight”, yet still experience difficulties with other visual skills.
To read seamlessly, one must also possess strong binocular vision, tracking, convergence, and accommodation. A deficiency in any of these visual skills can result in difficulties focusing on near work, with resulting reading and academic concerns.
Fortunately, vision therapy can help improve these skills to eliminate visual problems that may interfere with learning. To schedule an in-depth visual skills assessment with Dr. Briggs, please call or email us today.
Visual skills necessary for reading and learning
Visual acuity—the ability to see clearly in the distance and near.
Eye Focusing— the ability to quickly and accurately focus the eyes for different distances and to sustain clear vision at near for extended periods of time. This is critical for maintaining focus at near, and for reading, writing, and copying from the board.
Eye tracking— the ability for the eye to aim accurately on a target, accurately jump from one target to another, and to smoothly follow a moving object. This are essential in reading when looking from word to word and from one line to the next.
Eye teaming—the ability to coordinate and use both eyes together when moving the eyes along a printed page. It also includes the ability to accurately judge distances and see depth for classwork and sports. Dysfunctions can result in double or blurred vision, visual confusion, and avoidance of reading.
Eye-hand coordination—the ability to use visual information to accurately direct the hands when writing and drawing or when trying to hit a ball.
Visual perception—the ability to organize visual information on a printed page into letters, words, and ideas, and to comprehend and remember what is read.
How Vision Therapy can help with reading
Vision is a learned process in childhood, which means that it can also be trained and improved through neuroplasticity. Vision therapy focuses on developing, improving, and enhancing an individual’s visual performance. It is an individualized treatment program that utilizes advanced techniques and procedures based on the latest neuroscience.
Treatment includes specialized lenses, filters, and instruments to train the eyes and brain to better acquire and process visual information. It involves a combination of in-office sessions, computerized programs, and at-home therapy procedures.
How to detect if a child has a visual dysfunction
It can be difficult to detect a visual problem in children since they may assume everyone else sees the same way, or they may not be able to verbalise their symptoms. By completing a Visual Skills Assessment by a Fellowship-Trained Optometrist, it is possible to determine whether any visual dysfunctions may be interfering with learning. Beyond reading difficulties, other symptoms of vision problems are outlined on our Symptoms Checklist here.
Additionally, undetected vision problems can cause many signs and symptoms commonly attributed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), like hyperactivity and distractibility. Due to these similarities, children displaying these symptoms should have a comprehensive vision exam to avoid misdiagnosis and to ensure visual skills are not interfering with their learning.
Reading difficulties can have multiple causes, and so a multidisciplinary approach is recommended with your team of healthcare professionals and educators. This will help ensure optimal results for your child. We would be happy to send a report of the visual findings to your other providers.
If you suspect that a vision problem may be preventing your child from reaching his or her full academic potential, please contact us today to schedule an assessment.