Early Learning Disabilities Can Be Due to Untreated Vision Conditions
Children need clear vision to learn properly. Think about it, most of the information taught in a classroom is communicated through visual tools. Therefore, to equip kids for success in school, it is essential to schedule regular pediatric eye exams to ensure their vision scores high.
Our experienced and caring eye doctors will check your child’s eyes for 20/20 vision and inspect for other vision conditions. If we diagnose nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, we will prescribe contact lenses or eyeglasses, which you can purchase in our Fairhope, AL, kids’ optical collection. In addition to these common problems with eyesight, we also test for a variety of learning-related vision difficulties that could interfere with cognitive development and learning.
How can my child have 20/20 vision – yet still need vision treatment?
There is much more to vision than the ability to read a basic eye chart on the wall. Even if your child does not need eyeglasses in Fairhope, there are other ocular skills that are required to make top grades in school. A weakness in any of these skills can affect education and lead to a learning disability. What are these skills? Examples include:
- Binocularity: eyes are synchronized to team together and converge to see 3D images; reading depends upon eye teaming
- Eye mobility: allows your child to move his eyes smoothly across a printed page
- Accommodation: eyes must switch focus from near to far and back again; copying information from a classroom board relies upon this
- Eye-hand coordination: important for clear handwriting, copying information and playing sports
- Visual perception: necessary to make sense of visual images and connect them with information already learned
Are vision-related learning disabilities common in children?
Yes! According to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), research shows that 13% of kids between 9 to 13 years old have a moderate to severe problem with eye teaming (convergence). Often, these children find it hard to learn to read.
Other estimates claim that as many as one in four school-aged children suffer from at least one learning disability caused by an untreated vision condition. Sadly, many of these kids are incorrectly diagnosed and treated for conditions such as ADD/ADHD – when a pair of eyeglasses from our Fairhope store may really be all that they need!
How can routine pediatric eye exams help?
Our comprehensive eye exams for kids include a range of assessments that are designed to spot any learning-related eye problems. Testing will include a thorough evaluation of all parts of your child’s functional vision. If necessary, we may also recommend advanced, specialized procedures, which we can perform with the latest diagnostic tools in our Fairhope office.
Depending upon the results of a pediatric eye exam, we may prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses or vision therapy. Vision therapy is provided in sessions, and eye exercises are are customized to strengthen the visual skills that are weak.
Is vision always the cause of an early learning disability?
No. Falling behind in school may result from a learning-related vision problem or from a true learning disability in the brain. And sometimes a combination of both these conditions leads to poor performance in school.
It’s important to understand that vision therapy will not be able to treat a learning disability that is unrelated to the eyes. Yet vision therapy and specialized eyeglasses from our Fairhope optometry practice may help manage certain types of learning problems.
What are signs of a pediatric vision problem?
- Difficulty changing focus from near to far and back
- Eye strain
- Double vision, often associated with reading
- Poor handwriting
- Loss of place or missing words while reading
- General avoidance of reading, and/or poor reading comprehension
- Weak performance in school
- Frequent headaches
- Hyperactivity during class
If your child complains about any of these symptoms, contact us for a pediatric eye exam. Our Fairhope, AL, team will perform a complete evaluation to decide if treatment, such as eyeglasses or vision therapy, is needed.