Learning-related vision problems are not detectable by a school vision screening and can be overlooked during a typical and limited eye examination.
Teachers are often the first ones to observe an undetected vision problem in children because you see them under the conditions of prolonged visual demands in the classroom. Vision problems can affect children in different ways. An over-achieving student with a vision problem may have to work twice as hard as a child with a strong visual system. On the contrary, a struggling student with an undetected vision problem may misbehave to avoid visual discomfort when reading or doing schoolwork.
Research shows that children diagnosed with ADHD, Dyslexia, Developmental Delays, or Learning Problems have a higher incidence of learning-related vision problems. It is recommended that any child who is struggling in school have a thorough vision evaluation.
Early detection can save years of struggling.
A typical student is engaged in learning through vision 80% of the school day and will exhibit some common symptoms if they have learning-related vision difficulties. Some common symptoms are the following:
Appearance of the eyes:
- Eyes crossed or turning in, out or moving independently of each other
- Red, watering eyes, or encrusted eyelids
- Dislike or avoidance of close work
- Short attention span
- Using finger or marker when reading
- Difficulty completing assignments on time
- Difficulty remembering what was read
- Reversals of letters or words
Complaints associated with usage of the eyes:
- Headaches, nausea and dizziness
- Blurring of the vision
- Burning or itching eyes
To assist teachers in the pre-screening and early detection of learning-related vision problems, a pre-screening form is provided.
It depends; there are many causes of reading difficulties with vision problems being one of them.
Vision is a key component involved in reading. In addition to eye tracking, teaming and focusing skills, higher visual processing skills are needed. For visual processing of the text, word recognition, recall, and comprehension, your child needs developed skills in visual discrimination, attention, memory, and visualization. These skills should be automatic, but for individuals with visual deficiencies excess energy is exerted on the visual mechanics of reading and comprehension suffers.
To determine if your child’s reading struggles are related to vision, a thorough vision evaluation is recommended.
The term “20/20” means that from 20 ft away, your child can see a standard 20 size letter on an eye chart. Vision goes far beyond 20/20 eyesight. Vision involves the dynamic relationship between the eyes and brain which allow us to perceive, understand and interact with our world. In fact, 75-90% of classroom learning takes place through vision.
Many children with learning-related vision problems have 20/20 eyesight and healthy eyes, so they often pass vision screenings and standard eye exams. If your child has 20/20 eyesight and is struggling in school, he/she may lack the visual skills necessary for successful learning. These skills include eye tracking, teaming, and focusing, spatial awareness, visual memory, visualization, visual attention, and motor integration. A thorough vision evaluation is recommended.
There are many signs that an individual is struggling from a visual processing problem and the signs can vary depending on the individual. Some of the key things to watch for include but are not limited to:
- Confuses similar words
- Reverses numbers (6 and 9) and letters (b and d)
- Reverses words (was/saw)
- Transposes letters or numbers (12/21)
- Confuses right and left
- Poor spelling abilities
- Overlooks small details (reads “beak” for “break”)
- Improved comprehension when read to
- Vocalizes or moves lips when reading silently
- Difficulty following verbal instructions
- Difficulty with math concepts
- Difficulty completing assignments in a reasonable length of time
- Fails to recognize same word in next sentence or page
- Difficulty recalling what was read
- Writes neatly but slowly
- Difficulty copying from the board/paper/book/computer screen
- Misaligns digits or columns when doing math
- Poor printing/handwriting
If you, your child or someone you know suffers from any of these signs and symptoms, a processing evaluation may need to be completed in order to rule out any visual processing problems.
Behavior problems can be the result of many factors, including undetected visual problems. Vision deficiencies can cause students to get frustrated or bored in school because he or she has trouble seeing the board, seeing the teacher, reading a book, or processing the information in order to complete an assignment. Therefore, students will act out or misbehave in the classroom because the demands are too high for their visual systems.
Learning related vision problems are not exclusive to school-aged children. Many adults suffer from learning-related vision problems and have struggled their entire lives. These individuals have learned to cope with these deficiencies in order to be able to function at the level at which they are required. It is never too late to begin to develop these skills in order to increase the level at which you function.