Good vision requires your eyesight, visual pathways, and brain to all work together. This involves sending information to the hearing, touch, smell, taste centers of the brain and balance and motor system of the body. When these systems do not work together, even a person with 20/20 eyesight can experience difficulty reading, writing and processing information. The visual system is a key factor in how we learn: 80% of what you perceive, comprehend and remember depends on the efficiency of the visual system.
Vision is more than seeing 20/20. Most people think that if a person’s visual acuity is 20/20 their vision is ‘normal’ or ‘perfect’. That is not the case. Visual acuity is a measure of the clarity of a person’s vision and is tested by having a patient read a line of letters on an eye chart. Glasses and contact lenses only help improve visual acuity. Testing acuity does not require the same type of eye movements that reading does and it cannot be used to determine whether a child has the visual skills necessary to read.
Reading requires the integration of a number of different vision skills: visual acuity, visual fixation, accommodation, binocular fusion (both eyes working together), convergence, field of vision, and form perception. Of these, only one is checked by the typical school eye chart test. Inefficient or poorly developed vision requires individuals to divide their attention between the task and the involved visual abilities. Some individuals have symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, eyestrain, errors, loss of place, and difficulty sustaining attention. Others may have an absence of symptoms due to the avoidance of visually demanding tasks.
Limited eye examinations may cover only one or two. And symptoms of reading related vision problems are often not noticeable to parent, teacher or child. A comprehensive optometric examination, however, does cover these vision skills. It is a must for every child who is having trouble reading.
While clear vision is important, it is only one of many visual skills required to be able to read and learn. 75-90% of classroom learning comes through the visual system
- 75-90% of classroom learning comes through the visual system
- 80% of children who are reading disabled, including dyslexics, have vision problems that can be solved.
- 25% of ALL children have a vision problem significant enough to affect their performance in school.
- 95% of first grade nonreaders had significant vision problems. They had nearly 2.5 times more visual problems than first grade high achievers.
- In one study, 70% of juvenile delinquents had a vision problem.
- In one California funded study, recidivism (repeat offenders) reduced from 45% to 16% when wards received on-site optometric vision therapy.
- When a group of illiterate adults were vision screened, there was a 74% failure rate.
- School vision screenings detect only 20-30% of vision problems in schools.
- Only 13% of mothers with children younger than 2 years of age have taken their baby for a functional well-care eye exam. Yet 1 out of 10 children are at risk for having undiagnosed vision problems.