Most people think of vision problems in terms of acuity or the ability to see images and objects clearly. What’s not well-known is vision encompasses a range of functional skills involving how your eyes work together and how your eyes deliver information to the brain.
Not surprisingly, deficits in functional visual skills can interfere with your child’s ability to read and learn in a classroom setting. In this post, a Fort Worth, TX optometrist discusses how learning-related vision problems can affect your child’s reading skills and what’s needed to get your child back on track.
20/20 Vision vs Functional Vision – What’s the Difference?
Remember how the big letter chart on the wall was the focal point of your last eye exam? The ability to see a row of small letters on the chart determined whether you had 20/20 vision. This type of exam measures your visual acuity or how clearly you can see. And while visual acuity is important, there are more than 15 functional visual skills needed to read and learn in the classroom.
Functional visual skills have to do with how well your child’s eyes work together to deliver information to the brain. Here are just a few of them to consider:
- Combining the images from each eye into a single image
- Eye tracking
- Eye focusing
- Eye teaming
- Visual memory
- Visual form perception
Each one of these functional skills has an impact on your child’s ability to learn and keep up in the classroom.
What Are Learning-Related Vision Problems?
Learning-related vision problems arise when a child struggles with one or more functional vision skills. For instance, if your child’s eyes have difficulty tracking lines of text across the page, this can affect his ability to read in big ways. Also, the way in which the two eyes deliver data to the brain will affect his ability to process and learn new things.
Fortunately, there are signs you can watch for to determine if your child has learning-related vision problems:
- Tends to skip lines when reading
- Uses his finger to follow words across the page when reading
- Has problems recognizing words, letters, or simple shapes
- Gets tired quickly when reading
- Gets headaches when reading
- Struggles to stay between the lines when writing
- Poor reading comprehension
How Vision Therapy Can Help
Vision therapy focuses specifically on gauging your child’s functional vision skills using the following evaluation tests:
- Eye teaming ability
- Eye movement control
- Sustaining clear focus
- Focusing near to far
- Form perception
- Visual perceptual skills
- Visual memory
From there, your optometrist will put together a customized treatment plan designed to retrain how your child’s eyes align, as well as his ability to focus, track, and process incoming information.
If you have more questions about learning-related vision problems, vision therapy or you want to schedule a consultation, please feel free to call our Fort Worth, TX optometry office.