Did you know that during a child’s first twelve years 80% of all learning comes through vision?
Yet,vision problems affect 1 in 20 preschoolers and 1 in 4 school age children. A common mistake is to think that a vision screening in school or at the clinic is an eye exam. Screenings may pick up on more obvious vision problems but will not detect vision related learning problems or eye health issues. Good vision includes visual acuity, eye health, visual integration and visual skills such as eye teaming, eye focusing and eye motility.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 20-25% of children entering school have significant vision problems that can affect their development and progress in school. Seventy percent of school age children who have a learning disability in reading have some form of visual impairment.
Dr. Todd recommends that children have a complete eye exam between 9-12 months, at 3 or 4 years old and when entering kindergarten and first grade to ensure they do not struggle or fall behind in their ability to learn and read.
VISION & LEARNING
According to the American Public Health Association, 25% of students in grades K-6 have visual problems that are serious enough to hinder learning. Early detection of problems greatly increases the chances of successful rehabilitation. Testing of binocular teaming skills should be a part of every child’s comprehensive eye examination.
ADD & VISION
Many parents understandably believe that if their child was not seeing well, they would complain of things being blurry. But, children may not say that they are having vision problems because they don’t realize that the world isn’t supposed to be all blurry. For this reason, a surprising percentage of children’s vision problems are never detected and the children end up exhibiting behavior or learning problems.
As a result many children are labeled as having a learning disability, ADD or ADHD, or some are accused of just not wanting to do the work. Children with undetected vision problems can manifest symptoms similar to ADD. Studies show that approximately 20% of school-aged children suffer from eye teaming or focusing problems that make concentrating on a single task for long periods of time very difficult. Both children with vision related learning problems and children with ADD are easily distracted, have short attention spans, fail to complete assignments, and are often fidgety and off task.
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem and is not correctable with lenses. It can result from a failure to use both eyes together. Lazy eye is often associated with crossed-eyes or a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes.
Convergence insufficiency disorder interferes with a person’s ability to see, read, learn, and work at near (close distances). In the past, convergence insufficiency disorder has often gone undetected because testing is not included in pediatrician’s eye tests; school screenings; or basic eye exams.
Vision therapy is a type of physical therapy for the eyes and brain — is a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems such as lazy eye, crossed eyes, double vision, convergence insufficiency and some reading and learning disabilities. Many patients who have been told, “it’s too late,” or “you’ll have to learn to live with it” have benefited from vision therapy.
In the case of learning disabilities, vision therapy is specifically directed toward resolving visual problems which interfere with reading, learning and educational instruction.