Vision and Learning Overview

“Child is smart but struggles with school work”

“Son in a gifted program but has difficulty retaining what he reads”

“Is it a learning disability or an undiagnosed vision problem?”

Learning Difficulties

Research and studies indicate that 80% of what we learn is due to our visual system and that 75-90% of classroom learning takes place through vision.  Visual skills and processing are heavily involved in reading, writing, spelling and mathematics.   Therefore, to succeed in school it is imperative that a student have an efficient visual system.   Healthy eyes and 20/20 vision do not guarantee an efficient visual system.  Perceptual, eye tracking, teaming, and focusing problems are often overlooked despite passing a vision screening or eye examination.  When a child is falling behind in school or not achieving potential, an evaluation by an optometrist trained in the detection and treatment of vision related learning problems is recommended. Often times, vision is the missing piece to the learning puzzle.  Research shows that 60% of students identified as “problem learners” have undetected vision problems.  This number increases in individuals diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD.   Undetected vision problems can lead to untimely completion of assignments, avoidance of reading and other school work, misbehavior, and significant reduction in self esteem. A thorough evaluation testing for learning-related vision problems is a key step in a multidisciplinary management approach to learning problems. It is recommended that children receiving remedial services such as special education, IEP, tutoring, occupational or speech therapy, should receive a vision-related learning evaluation. Improved outcomes in other services and significant academic gains can be made through remediation of vision problems.   Signs and Symptoms of learning-related vision problems:

  • Mistakes in homework and class work
  • Slow reader
  • Poor ability to sustain attention and stay on task
  • Difficulty completing assignments in a reasonable time
  • Avoids reading and schoolwork
  • Fatigues or gives up easily during reading and schoolwork
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty recalling what was read
  • Fidgety while reading or doing school work
  • Reverses letters, numbers, or words (i.e. b for d, was for saw)
  • Transposes letters or numbers (i.e. 21/ 12)
  • Confuses similar words (i.e. home/ house)
  • Vocalizes or moves lips when reads
  • Poor printing/ handwriting
  • Short attention span/ distractible
  • Poor math abilities
  • Confuses left and right
  • Overlooks small details (i.e. reads ‘beak’ for ‘break’)
  • Trouble recognizing the same word in another sentence/paragraph
  • Poor spelling abilities
  • Omits or misreads small words
  • Loss of place when reading
  • Re-reads words or lines when reading
  • Sore or irritated eyes while reading
  • Difficulty copying form the board, book, computer
  • Moves head abnormally close to page when writing or reading