Reading & Dyslexia

Why is vision important for reading?

Individuals diagnosed with reading disorders, including dyslexia, also commonly have vision problems that make reading and learning more challenging. While 15% of children in the general population have eye tracking disorders, and that percentage jumps to 62% for children with dyslexia. It’s also common for individuals with dyslexia to have visual processing deficits. The tests required to diagnose learning related vision issues are very rarely included in traditional vision screenings.

In 2019, Dr. Talaber’s research on dyslexia and eye movement training was published in a peer reviewed medical journal. The key finding was that students significantly improved their reading fluency after eye movement training. While it’s not fully understood why these visual efficiencies so commonly occur in patients with dyslexia, the good news is that the visual efficiencies can be treated independently. Children with dyslexia who undergo vision therapy can significantly improve their vision skills, resulting in improved reading and comprehension. Dr. Talaber is one of the few doctors certified to diagnose and treat vision issues that impact reading ability. These vision conditions are uncovered through a two-hour Neuro-Vision Evaluation.

Do the signs of dyslexia and learning related vision issues overlap?

The Signs of Dyslexia list below was provided by the International Dyslexia Association. The Signs of Vision Issues that Impact Learning are according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

Signs of Dyslexia Signs of Vision Issue impacting Learning
  • Slow reading
  • Difficulty learning how to read
  • Constant re-reading the same sentences
  • Uncomfortable reading out loud
  • Prefer to read magazines or short articles rather than longer books and novels
  • Omitting, transposing, or adding letters when reading or writing
  • Frequent spelling errors
  • Difficulty pronouncing uncommon multi-syllable words while reading
  • Avoiding work projects or courses that require extensive reading
  • Difficulty learning a foreign language
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Headaches with near work or reading
  • Words run together while reading
  • Eye discomfort or fatigue while reading
  • Skipping or repeating lines while reading
  • Tilting head or closing one eye when reading
  • Writing uphill or downhill
  • Omitting small words when reading
  • Difficulty copying from a board or distance target to your notebook or computer
  • Misaligning digits/columns of numbers
  • Holding books or near work very close to eyes
  • Avoiding reading or near work
  • Short attention span with near work
  • Difficulty completing assignments on time

It is important to note that dyslexia and vision conditions manifest similar signs. Therefore, the two conditions should be properly differentiated through a Neuro-Vision Evaluation and reading assessments.

If you or a loved one experience any of the above symptoms, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Talaber by clicking the Schedule a Free Consult button below.

If you would like to schedule a Neuro-Vision Evaluation, please contact our office.

If you aren’t sure where to start, take our free neuro-vision symptom quiz to find out if you would benefit from a consultation.

How are vision conditions that impact reading diagnosed and treated?

Dr. Talaber begins by testing the vision skills and visual processing ability that are essential to reading and learning. In addition, the testing includes a reading assessment and dyslexia screening test to fully understand how vision is impacting reading. Once we discover any vision problems and assess reading ability, a personalized vision therapy plan is created directly aimed to improve reading and learning.

Some children benefit from both dyslexia-specific remediation and vision therapy. Reading remediation or tutoring programs become much easier after the underlying vision condition is treated. If the child’s vision is blurry with reading or if the child has a difficult time keeping track of the line or word, learning to read is extremely difficult, tiresome, and frustrating. When the child’s vision is clear and comfortable throughout the day, as developed through our neuro-vision therapy programs, the child is able to read for longer periods of time and better understand what (s)he reads. Additionally, visual processing skills like visual memory, eye-hand-body coordination, visualization, etc, which are also important skills for learning, are practiced and fine-tuned.

References

Raghuram A, Gowrisankaran S, Swanson E. Frequency of Visual Deficits in Children With Developmental Dyslexia. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018:1-7. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.2797.

Talaber A, Wethe J, Leong D. The King-Devick Reading Acceleration Program Significantly Improves Reading Performance in Students with Dyslexia. Vision Development & Rehabilitation. 2019;5(3):175-85.

Jafarlou F, Jarollahi F, Ahadi M, Sadeghi-firoozabadi V. Oculomotor rehabilitation in children with dyslexia. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2017;31(125).

International Dyslexia Association. Dyslexia Assessment: What Is it and How Can It Help? http://bit.ly/2ZVUAZV. Published 2017.College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Quality of Life Survey Checklist. https://www.covd.org/page/QOLSurvey. Accessed 2019.

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