There's no question that good vision is important for learning. Experts say more than 80% of what your child is taught in school is presented to them visually.
To make sure your child has the visual skills they need for school, the first step is to make sure your child has 20/20 eyesight and that any nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism is fully corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Once that is achieved, there are less obvious learning related vision problems you should be aware of.
Good Vision is More Than 20/20 Visual Acuity
Your child can have measured 20/20 eyesight and still have vision problems that can affect their learning and classroom performance. Visual acuity is just one aspect of good vision.
Other important visual skills needed for learning include:
- Eye movement skills – How smoothly and accurately your child can move their eyes across a printed page in a textbook.
- Eye focusing abilities – How well they can change focus from far to near and back again especially when taking notes from the board.
- Eye teaming skills – How well your child's eyes work together as a synchronized team such as when converging for proper eye alignment when reading.
- Binocular vision skills – How well your child's eyes can blend visual images from both eyes into a single, three-dimensional image.
- Visual perceptual skills – How well your child can identify and understand what they see, judge its importance, and associate it with previous visual information stored in their brain.
- Visual-motor integration – The quality of your child's eye-hand coordination, which is important not only for sports, but also for legible handwriting and the ability to efficiently copy written information from a book or chalkboard.
- Deficiencies in any of these important visual skills can significantly affect your child's learning ability and school performance.
Many Children Have Vision Conditions That Affect Learning
Many children have undetected learning related vision problems. According to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), one study indicates 13% of children between the ages of nine and thirteen suffer from moderate to severe convergence insufficiency which is an eye teaming condition that can affect reading performance. Also, as many as one in four school age children may have at least one learning related vision condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Learning Related Vision Conditions
There are many signs and symptoms of learning related vision disorders, including:
- Blurred distance or near vision, particularly after reading or other close work
- Frequent headaches or eye strain
- Difficulty changing focus from distance to near and back
- Double vision, especially during or after reading
- Avoidance of reading
- Easily distracted when reading
- Poor reading comprehension
- Loss of place, repetition, and/or omission of words while reading
- Letter and word reversals
- Poor handwriting
- Hyperactivity or impulsiveness during class
- Poor overall school performance
If your child exhibits one or more of these signs or symptoms and is having problems in school, call us at 512-255-7070 to schedule a comprehensive children's vision exam.
Comprehensive Children's Vision Exam
A comprehensive children's vision exam includes tests performed in a routine eye exam, plus additional tests to detect learning related vision conditions. These extra tests may include an assessment of eye focusing, eye teaming, eye movement abilities, focusing, binocular vision, and ocular motility testing. Depending on the type of concerns your child is experiencing, we may recommend other testing either in our office or with a children's vision development specialist.
Vision and Learning Disabilities
A child who is struggling in school could have a learning related vision condition, a learning disability, and/or both. Children with learning disabilities may also have vision problems that are contributing to their difficulties in the classroom.
If you have any questions about your child's vision, please contact us at 512-255-7070.