The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) estimates that there are 10 million children under 10 years of age in the U.S. that have vision problems.
Up to 25% of all school-age children have vision problems significant enough to impair academic performance? This rate may be as high as 60% for those children labeled as having learning problems.
An evaluation of the visual efficiency of beginning readers in a public school found that visual factors were the primary cause of reading failure and that most current school screenings are inadequate to detect these problems.
A study of inner-city youths found that poor vision is related to academic and behavioral problems among at-risk children.
Vision problems are often typically misdiagnosed as learning disabilities or ADD/ADHD leading to special education intervention and unnecessary drug treatment of school children.
The 20/20 eye chart test (invented in the 1860s) only measures what you can see far away, not the "up-close” ability to see books or computers, nor the ability of the eyes and brain to work together in processing visual information.
Thorough vision examinations measure eye teaming (how the eyes work together), focusing (ease in sustaining focus for up-close work), and tracking skills (how accurately and smoothly eyes move together across a page of print) as well as visual information processing abilities.
Developmental optometrists can provide vision examinations that fully assess these vision problems. These doctors are trained in the evaluation of learning-related vision problems and treatment using special glasses and vision therapy.
Studies have shown that the correction of vision problems with vision therapy leads to a significant reduction in visual symptoms and improvements in reading performance.
Reading and writing are the two most common tasks people will perform in school or at a desk job. Every time we read from a book, a sheet, of paper, or a computer monitor, we are performing a visual task.
How We Read
When we read, we need to direct two eyes at the same point simultaneously and accurately, focus both eyes to make the reading material clear, continue or sustain clear focus, and move two eyes continually as a coordinated team across the line of print. When we move our eyes to the next line of print, we continue with the process.
In order to gain comprehension throughout the reading process, we are constantly taking in the visual information and decoding it from the written word into a mental image. Memory and visualization are also used to constantly relate the information to what is already known and to help make sense of what is being read.
How We Write
Writing is similar but almost works in the reverse order to reading. We start with an image in our mind and code it into words. At the same time, we control the movement of the pencil while continually working to keep the written material making sense. Throughout all this, we focus our eyes and move them together just as in the reading process.
Complicated visual procedures are involved in both reading and writing. A problem with any or all of the visual parts of the processes described above can present difficulties in some way with reading and or writing.
Sometimes a visual difficulty that affects reading and writing is easy to recognize, and other times it can be quite subtle to detect. Some of the physical signs or symptoms include:
Frequent headaches or eye strain
The blurring of distance or near vision, particularly after reading or other close work
Avoidance of close work or other visually demanding tasks
Poor judgment of depth
Turning of an eye in or out, up or down
The tendency to cover or close one eye, or favor the vision in one eye
Poor hand-eye coordination
Difficulty following a moving target
Dizziness or motion sickness