There is a certain logic to the ways that vision and learning are related. We use our visual systems to do most of our learning in childhood and adulthood, and when a part of our vision isn’t working the way it’s intended to, it prevents us from experiencing the learning process to its fullest.
Here’s how we learn with our eyes: humans represent the spoken word with the written word, and we take advantage of numerals to visualize mathematical concepts. We draw pictures, paint, and animate to convey creative ideas, and we organize according to visual cues.
While our other senses do play vital parts in our learning process, vision is perhaps the most crucial. For that reason, vision related problems are the most common culprit among reasons for learning difficulties.
Alarmingly, some children and adults may have perfect vision according to a traditional eye exam, but may still suffer from undiagnosed learning-related vision problems. Thorough specialized testing and detecting early gives them the best chance at recovery and a complete learning experience.
Common Vision Problems that Cause Learning Difficulty
Even a child or adult with clear vision according to standard tests may suffer from other vision deficiencies that interfere with learning. Common problems that require a deeper analysis of the eyes and brain connection include:
Poor Eye Movement
The smoothness and accuracy of eye movement are not only integral to learning to complete physical tasks, they also heavily affect how well you can read words on a page or screen. Children and adults who cope with jittery or sluggish eye movement have trouble pacing their cerebral processes with their visual input.
The ability to focus is of course tied to the ability to read, but it profoundly affects learning in a social and physical realm, as well. Difficulties retaining information may result from focusing issues, one of the major vision problems that affect reading.
Inability to Team Eyes
When the eyes don’t work together to produce a clear picture, the brain doesn’t have a solid idea of what the input is that it’s receiving, and vision and learning can be more of a challenge. It affects the chain of information processing that allows learning to take place.
Compromised Binocular Vision
Without binocular vision, a child or adult’s perception of the 3D world is severely limited. Trouble with the binocular aspect of vision may cause problems in both understanding words on a page as well as forming a complete mental picture of learned concepts.
Visual Perception & Motor Integration Problems
All of the systems tied to information processing (those that activate after receiving visual input from the eyes) must be working in tandem with accurate eyesight to produce the expected learning experience. Anything short compromises vision and learning abilities.
Does Fixing Vision Fix Learning Problems?
In many cases, yes, working with a vision therapist to correct learning-related vision problems such as strabismus, amblyopia, or convergence insufficiency, can enhance a child or adult’s ability to learn. While there may be other psychological factors that play a role in the amount of learning a patient is able to accomplish, addressing visual problems first can have an enormous impact on learning difficulties. To learn more about the connection between vision and learning and to get a complementary consultation on if vision therapy can help, get in touch with the OCVT team today.