Vision problems can often resemble learning difficulties. Many children struggle with reading and other learning tasks despite the great efforts made to help. It can be hard to tell if a child is suffering from a vision problem because children think how they see is how everyone else sees. It is common, however, for bright students who are underachievers to have a vision issue that is getting in the way of their learning and achievement at school.
It’s important for parents to know the symptoms of learning-related vision issues (listed below) to help determine if vision is interfering with a child’s learning. It’s uncommon that children will mention they have these symptoms unless asked. It’s also important for parents and teachers to watch out for signs of vision issues in their students. It’s even less likely that a child would associate these symptoms with learning difficulties without the help of their parents and medical professionals. The tests required to diagnose learning-related vision issues are very rarely included in traditional vision screenings.
People with learning related vision issues experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Slow reading speed
- Poor reading comprehension
- Difficulty completing school work
- Avoidance of reading or other challenging tasks
- Easily distracted while reading
- Prefers to be read to
- Tires easily when reading
- Leans into print when reading
- Tilts head or lays head down when reading
- Prefer being read to rather than reading themselves
- Difficulty with fine motor tasks (e.g. tying shoes, writing)
- Reduced ability in sports
- Blurry vision
- Double vision
If you or a loved one experience any of the above symptoms, a Neuro-Vision Evaluation conducted by a Neuro Optometrist is the only means of getting a clear and accurate diagnosis. If you’re interested in better understanding the seriousness and severity of the symptoms you or a loved one are experiencing, we encourage you to take our Vision Symptom Quiz.
Children with a learning difficulty or have a history of a developmental delay are at greater risk for having a vision issue that impacts learning. Traumatic brain injuries and concussions can cause visual deficits that impact learning as well.
The best treatment approach is an individualized vision neuro-therapy program. Children with learning-related vision conditions are often gifted in many areas of learning. They may have excellent auditory or kinesthetic (learn-by-doing) skills. They may prefer audiobooks rather than reading the book. Enhancing visual skills through a neuro-vision therapy program allows a child to perform more diverse tasks, make learning and reading easier, reduce frustration and fatigue, and increase overall performance.
A Summary of Research and Clinical Studies on Vision and Learning. By the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Online Article can be found at: https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.covd.org/resource/resmgr/Research/10a_SummaryofResearchonVisio.pdf
Conclusion: The importance of good vision to reading and learning has been the subject of considerable study. Numerous clinical and research studies have shown that good visual abilities are beneficial to learning to read and to read with understanding.
Children with normal eyesight (20/20) can have visual problems which affect how their eyes focus, team together, or move along a line of print when reading. These learning-related vision problems cause children to struggle unnecessarily, and this can result in their being mislabeled as learning disabled or having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Fortunately, effective treatment for these types of vision problems is available through vision therapy.