Diagnosing Learning-related Vision Problems in Children
From Harry Potter to Shakespeare, reading is one of the fundamental skills we learn in school, and for many it is a lifelong passion. Not to mention, in our increasingly fast-paced, technological world, it’s important to keep up with all those texts and emails. Yet for some of us, reading can be a chore, even for the best and brightest. When it comes to our young ones, reading problems can often be directly related to learning problems. What many people do not realize is that the underlying problem could be related to their vision.
Symptoms of Learning-Related Vision Problems
Do you notice your son squinting or putting his head close to the book when reading? Does your daughter complain about headaches, rubbing her eyes? Do you find your children easily losing attention during visual tasks, or avoiding reading and close work altogether? Do you experience any of these problems yourself? If so, you or your children may be experiencing Learning-related Vision Problems.
Learning-Related Vision Problems Defined
If your child passes the school vision test, you may think that he or she is in the clear. Unfortunately, these tests often do not always account for the types of vision problems that interfere with reading. As the American Optometric Association explains, what these screenings test for is “visual acuity.” In simpler terms, visual acuity is the ability to see objects clearly at a distance. However, there are many other visual skills that these tests do not assess, such as Visual Fixation, Binocular Fusion, and Convergence, all of which are crucial to reading and other activities in the classroom. In fact, you may have 20/20 vision and still have vision problems. The only way to thoroughly assess one’s vision is through a comprehensive eye examination.
Effects of Leaving Vision Problems Untreated
While Learning-Related Vision Problems and Learning Disabilities are not the same thing, the two are undoubtedly linked. Experts estimate that 20 to 25% of children experience vision problems that affect academic performance, and that rate can be as high as 30-60% for those diagnosed with a learning disability. Children with Learning-Related Vision Problems may experience fatigue in the classroom, develop short-attention spans, have lower understanding despite their best efforts, or lose interest in school altogether. It is important to remember that vision problems are not cognitive issues, and can even affect people with high IQs.
When Athens Eye Care optometrist Dr. Kinard diagnoses a patient with a Learning-Related Vision Problem, the treatments that he often recommends are vision a a pair of stress-relieving glasses and possibly vision therapy. While many people let their issues go undiagnosed or untreated, for people like Todd Schleef of Watertown, Wisconsin, who “never read a book until college,” these treatments are life-changing. Schleef’s son Dominic, 8, and daughter Alli, 7, are both going through vision therapy, and their father is “hoping in the long run vision therapy will help them in their lives.”
If your child hasn’t yet been examined by an optometrist, and you suspect that he or she may be experiencing problems with reading, early detection can make a big difference. If you feel your child may be struggling with reading due to vision problems, it’s not too late. Schedule your examination today using this online form.