We know that vision is critical to a child’s wellbeing and especially for reading. Indeed, visual abilities are what allows us to appreciate the world fully. Not only do children use their visual skills for reading, learning, and sports, but they also use these skills to become better at interactions and to create relationships. How so?
Vision in Reading, Schoolwork, Homework, and Life
We want our children to have good vision, especially as it relates to reading, schoolwork, sports, and even social interaction. Certainly, we want our children to see clearly and have healthy eyes, but good vision is so much more than having 20/20 eyesight. Although a school or health department vision screening may detect nearsightedness or farsightedness in a child, this test can often miss other serious vision dysfunctions affecting the child’s ability to read and learn. How can a child have excellent eyesight and yet have a serious vision problem?
Imagine if you could see through your child’s eyes
Let’s begin with the fact that we have two eyes, and they must coordinate together as a team, focus, and track with precision. However, what if you couldn’t properly team your eyes together? For example, how would you react if words on the page began to overlap (double) when you read for more than a few minutes? What if when you tried to read words would begin to change focus, from blurry to clear, and you would lose your place easily, thereby slowing down your reading speed and decreasing your comprehension? These functions of vision are technically referred to as sensorimotor abilities and include these three categories:
- Binocular/vergence (eye teaming)
- Accommodative (eye focusing)
- Oculomotor (eye-tracking)
The video below helps shed light on some of the vision conditions often missed by School Vision Screenings.
What’s the likelihood your child has a vision problem?
What’s the possibility that your child has a vision problem in any of these three categories? In research conducted at Harvard’s Medical School, Department of Ophthalmology and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers found that 79% of children with reading problems had 1 or more these sensorimotor problems.
However, there is more. What if you had trouble identifying and processing differences of symbols, letters, or words? What if letters such as ‘b’ ‘d’ ‘p’ or ‘q’ looked the same and therefore did not mean anything different? What if you could not readily recall visual information or generate imagery in your mind? What if you had trouble with your eye-hand coordination for handwriting? What if you had trouble pairing your vision with your balance and/or gross motor abilities? These functions of vision are technically referred to as visual perceptual and visual integration abilities involving:
- Visual Form Perception
- Visual Directionality
- Visual Memory/Visualization
- Visual-Motor Integration
- Visual Vestibular Integration
The American Optometric Association (AOA), has recently spelled out for eye doctors an evidence-based clinical practice guideline referred to The Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination (CPG-2). Here is what they emphasize as outlined in the 2-page summary- CPG-2 Clinical Pearls
When childhood vision problems exist and are undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or untreated, the AOA warns about future problems that often manifest well into adulthood, affecting an individual’s level of education, employment opportunities, and social interactions. They also state that the costs for undiagnosed and untreated vision problems may include the loss of a child’s full potential. That’s why it is essential for children who struggle in reading, schoolwork, and homework to have a comprehensive Developmental Vision Evaluation.
What is a Developmental Vision Evaluation?
A developmental/rehabilitation optometrist administers a Developmental Vision Evaluation. The doctor will conduct a thorough and in-depth case history, followed by a comprehensive sensorimotor and visual perceptual assessment. This evaluation measures eye coordination and visual processing related to reading fluency, letter reversals, handwriting, attention/ concentration, and overall learning abilities.
Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD
Wow Vision Therapy
GET IN TOUCH
Concerned you or your child may be struggling with a vision problem and wish to learn more about vision therapy? Please fill out the form below and one of our Patient Care Coordinators will be in touch to answer your questions or help schedule an evaluation for you.