Wow Vision Therapy Blog

Vision Problems that Impact Reading & Learning: Research, Science, & the Art of Care

For over 10 years it has been my privilege and honor, as an Adjunct Clinical Professor at Michigan’s College of Optometry at Ferris State University (MCO), and to present to the 3rd year optometry students on developmental vision and rehabilitation. With the gracious permission of Dr. Mark Swan, Professor of Pediatrics and Developmental Vision at MCO, on October 26, 2018, it was my pleasure to lecture with my 2 residents, Dr. Jamie Jacobs and Dr. Kelsey Starman in Dr. Swan’s Developmental Vision Course. Our lecture was entitled: Vision Problems that Impact Reading and Learning.

The research is abundant, and the evidence is clear…visual efficiency problems impact reading and learning. In addition to good visual acuity (eyesight), the American Optometric Association (AOA) defines visual efficiency problems as dysfunctions of visual skills involving binocular vision (eye teaming), accommodation (eye focusing) and/or oculomotor (eye tracking) abilities as well as eye-hand coordination and visual perception. The AOA defines these visual skills needed for school success. Problems associated with these areas are usually developmental delays or associated with a neurological event, such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury and can be effectively treated with office-based vision therapy.

The emphasis in our lecture was to go beyond the academics of these complex issues and provide a level of appreciation for the important role the doctor has of integrating the science and art of vision therapy/rehabilitation in a private practice to obtain the best outcomes for patients.

This year’s presentation involved 3 cases reports of actual patients treated by the doctors and vision therapists at Wow Vision Therapy. Included with each case report were the “before” and “after” visual clinical findings as well as reading performance on a variety of standardized reading tests. In addition, along with each case report were 3 published papers in peer-reviewed journals and conclusion citing the connection between visual efficiency problems and/or the proven results of office-based vision therapy on treating visual efficiency problems involving binocular vision dysfunction, accommodative dysfunction and/or oculomotor dysfunction.

Therefore, in our lecture, we presented not just 1 but 9 research papers from around the world that shows the connection between visual efficiency problems and reading/learning problems. More importantly, research alone does not shape excellent patient care. It also takes empathy, the ability to listen and apply the experiential skills that are the “art and craft” of excellent patient care. These are the principles for our models of care at Wow Vision Therapy.

Click here to download a pdf copy of our lecture.

For additional information, including videos, books, white papers, research and more check out the VisionHelp Vision and Learning Project.

Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD