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Hidden Vision Problems Can Interfere with Learning

01/28/2018 04:14PM ● Published by Digital Media Director

By Dr. Angela Gulbranson, Visions Eye Care & Vision Therapy Center

How well your child sees throughout the school day can have a huge impact on academic performance and behavior in the classroom. Typically, most people mistakenly assume that since their child can see things in the distance that “of course” their child can see fine for reading. 

Vision screenings typically test to see how well your child can see the letters on the eye chart, and if the child passes this test, vision is incorrectly determined to be fine. Most people don’t realize that all 20/20 means is that you are looking at the eye chart from a distance of 20 feet and you are able to see it clearly. That’s it!

If you think about it for a minute: Where does a child do most of his or her learning? Most reading, writing, homework and test taking is done up close. One may see well at a distance, but not see properly at 16 inches in front of them, which is the recommended reading distance.

In the classroom, we need to be able to look at materials on our desk and quickly focus on the teacher’s writing on the board so we can copy it back to our notes. And, we need to be able to do this all day! If any of these visual skills are missing or deficient, reading and learning will be difficult.

Children don’t know how they’re supposed to see, and often think that everyone sees the same way they do. Therefore, you need to know the warning signs that your child may have a vision problem. For example, does your child:


*Avoid reading? 

*Prefer to be read to? 

*Turn his or her head at an angle when reading? 

*Have more trouble comprehending what is read the longer he or she reads?

*Read a paragraph out loud but not remember what was read?

*Have a short attention span when reading or doing schoolwork?

Even one of these examples is a sign of a possible eye coordination or eye movement problem. If your child struggles with reading, is smart in everything but school, or is a bright underachiever, you need to make sure your child has all the visual skills required for academic success. To do this, you need to see a developmental optometrist who can provide an in-depth binocular vision evaluation.  

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