Because vision and learning are so intimately connected, vision problems can easily be mistaken for learning problems. Correctable vision issues are often misdiagnosed as learning disabilities, ADHD, or dyslexia. As many as 40% of all children with learning disabilities have vision problems that are misdiagnosed. While many schools and pediatricians can perform basic vision screenings, only a comprehensive eye exam done by an optometrist can truly diagnose a vision-related learning issue.
Glasses are helpful for some vision problems, but vision is more than seeing 20/20. Learning to read involves accurate eye movements, focusing, and binocularity. As a result, learning is difficult if any of these systems are not functioning at an optimum level. But the good news is that vision therapy can help correct vision systems to improve visual function.
Vision-related learning problems are often not identified right away, and students who are affected might not even realize they are having a visual issue. Signs and symptoms can include skipping or re-reading of lines, following the text with a finger, closing or covering an eye, seeing double, and avoiding close-up work. This list is not comprehensive, and children will have the best chance of learning success when their families schedule regular eye exams with an optometrist to diagnose and treat any vision or other ocular health concerns. The information contained in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for questions regarding any possible health condition.
By Alicia Feis, O.D., FAAO
Photo courtesy of Midwestern University. Dr. Feis Alicia Feis, O.D., FAAO, is Dean of the Arizona College of Optometry in Glendale and supervises third-and-fourth year optometry students in their pediatric clinical rotations at the Midwestern University Eye Institute. At the Eye Institute, our faculty optometrists and students utilize the latest technology and research to evaluate and treat a wide range of vision and ocular health concerns for both children and adults, at affordable prices. www.mwuclinics.com/az/ei | 623-537-6000
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