Did you know that some learning problems can be the result of your child’s vision and the way his or her brain processes visual information? For example, behavioral problems and some instances of ADHD may actually be caused by eye strain and vision-related headaches.
The good news is that getting your child’s total vision tested, including visual acuity, eye tracking and teaming, focus, depth perception, and color and contrast vision can determine if your child’s learning difficulty in school is related to certain eye conditions or a learning disability.
Eye Conditions that May Make It Hard for Your Child to Learn and Develop Reading Skills
Certain vision problems, not related to visual acuity, can hinder your child's progress in school.
Vision conditions that benefit from vision therapy include:
- Problems with Eye Focusing – Vision therapy can be successfully used to improve a child’s ability to rapidly focus on near and far objects, which is important when trying to read and view the whiteboard.
- Convergence Insufficiency (CI) – medically known as strabismus, is a condition that affects eye alignment, especially when reading.
- Binocular Vision Issues – Less severe binocular vision issues occur when the eyes do not completely work together. This can lead to frequent eye strain and headaches in children.
Vision Therapy for Reading and Learning
As much as 80 percent of your child’s learning is achieved through what they see and how they perceive visual input. When there is a functional problem with your child’s eye, he or she may not show any obvious signs, and there may appear to be nothing wrong with your child’s eye when you look at them.
For example, your child may not have an eye that is visibly crossed, and when your child tracks an object it may appear that both eyes are looking at the object when it moves. However, just because you can’t see anything wrong with your child’s eyes, doesn’t mean your child sees perfectly.
If your child has trouble reading, especially if they confuse words, reverse words in a sentence or skip lines, or your child appears to have an attention problem at school or at home while doing their homework, it may be due to problems with the way your child’s eyes function, and the way your child’s brain perceives visual input. Thankfully, testing the function of your child’s eyes with an experienced eye doctor can determine if your child needs vision therapy or if another cause may be to blame, like a learning disorder.
If our eye doctor determines that your child’s learning and reading problems are caused by tracking and teaming issues, eye focusing or eye movement, vision therapy can help. Vision therapy involves utilizing certain eye exercises to strengthen the muscles of the eyes and how the brain perceives visual input.
These eye exercises can be done at home and at our eye center and may involve the use of special lenses and computer programs or more conventional items, like pens and balls. Your child’s exact therapy program will depend on the type and severity of the functional eye problems. However, most children show significant improvement in a reasonably short period of time.