Every parent wants their child to be successful in school. But as many as 25 percent of children in any classroom have vision problems that keep them from attaining their highest level of success. Four of five classroom hours involve doing near vision work less than arm’s length from a child’s eyes. Many children and adults cannot handle such intense, prolonged near vision work. In today's classrooms 70-80% of learning material is presented in a visual manner, therefore a proper functioning visual
Vision problems can interfere with one's ability to read, learn, comprehend and even pay attention. Our vision developed for and is perfect for seeing at distances, but today, nearly everything we do at work, home and school requires prolonged, intense near vision work. There's a fundamental mismatch between our distance preference and the constant, intense near-seeing work we do.
The daily visual stress we endure can come at a cost. Some children lose vision to nearsightedness; others avoid near vision work and do poorly at school. Some children struggle along, reading and re-reading passages to comprehend them, still others get headaches or score low on reading assignments. These are the children that may be not meeting their full potential or have been put on Individual Education Programs (IEP). They can be the children who prefer to be read to or can remember information accurately if they hear it but not if its been taken in visually.
Many of the visual issues that can interfere with learning involve visual skills beyond simply seeing 20/20, or seeing clearly, therefore they easily get missed on a vision screening. It is important to see a developmental/behavioral optometrist for a complete visual skills assessment when a child's reading and learning skills are not at grade level. Optometric research has proven many ways to deal with learning-related vision problems. Identifying all contributing causes of the learning problem increases the chances that the problem can be successfully treated. Sometimes in simple, direct ways lenses help, in more complex cases, re-training the child to see efficiently will result in increased ability to comprehend.
Vision research has shown ways to prevent or reduce permanent vision loss to nearsightedness, and turn children who "hate" or avoid reading into content and interested readers. Some common signs and symptoms of vision-related learning problems can include: blurred vision, losing your place while reading or using finger as a guide, double vision, and eye turn, poor hand eye coordination, covering one eye or moving reading material to one side, frequent eye rubbing, headaches, eye strain, poor concentration or easily distracted, slow reading and reversals . These visual dysfunctions can result in behaviour in the child due to frustration, changes in mood and low self esteem.
If you feel that your child is having difficulties in school please take a look at our teacher checklist.(PDF)
For further information on how we process visual information and these skills, please see the Visual Processing Skills section.