Does Dyslexia Affect Adults?

Published June 23, 2020

Dyslexia in adulthood

Dyslexia is a complex condition that affects the way the brain processes and interprets information. Dyslexia can impact reading, writing, and spelling. Dyslexia may also affect organizational skills, concentration in noisy environments, planning, and prioritizing.

According to recent data, it is estimated that 1 in 10 adults have dyslexia— that’s up to 30 million American adults.

While, up to 15% of the population may be dyslexic, fewer than 1 in 10 will actually receive a formal diagnosis.

Adults with dyslexia typically experience many challenges in the workplace due to the disorders’ many effects. Many adults also have low self esteem as a result of their dyslexia. However, it is important to understand that dyslexia is not associated with a low IQ— Albert Einstein was dyslexic and had an estimated IQ of 160!

Do I have dyslexia?

It is important to understand that children who suffer from dyslexia will continue to suffer into their adulthood, if never given the proper tools or treatments to reduce the effects of this condition.

Though, don’t be discouraged— improvement of reading, spelling, and writing skills is still possible even as an adult. Vision therapy is an effective treatment that can improve the visual skills necessary for optimal career performance and a lifetime of success.

Difficulties associated with dyslexia can range from mild to severe, and may include:

  • Time management
  • Understanding jokes or idioms
  • Reading aloud
  • Reading fluency
  • Learning a new language
  • Retelling main ideas of a story
  • Comprehension

Is dyslexia a vision problem?

The symptoms of dyslexia are often similar to those experienced with vision problems. For this reason an eye exam is essential if you feel that you may have an undiagnosed case of dyslexia.

Healthy vision is an important component in the learning process. To detect learning-related vision problems, each of the following visual functions must be carefully evaluated:

  • Visual pathway integrity– ocular health, visual acuity and refractive status
  • Visual efficiency– accommodation (focusing), binocular vision (eye teaming) and eye movements
  • Visual information processing– identification and discrimination, spatial awareness, and integration with other senses.

What are the signs of a vision problem?

  • Eye strain or headaches
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Crossed eyes (strabismus)
  • Excessive blinking while reading
  • Avoidance of reading or writing
  • Reduced concentration during visual tasks
  • Poor reading fluency or comprehension
  • Poor short term or long term visual memory
  • Consistent reversal of words or letters

A diagnosis of dyslexia requires a multidisciplinary approach

A comprehensive eye exam is a critical component of a multi-disciplinary approach in the diagnosis and treatment of dyslexia.

It is recommended that all children and adults who are reading or learning underachievers should obtain a detailed evaluation of their visual function, especially of the binocular vision system—  even if a formal diagnosis of dyslexia has been made.

With a comprehensive assessment of your visual skills, your eye doctor will be able to identify signs of dyslexia— most commonly, binocular vision problems such as focusing difficulties and eye teaming and coordination problems. These vision problems can be successfully treated with a customized program of vision therapy. Therefore, a comprehensive binocular eye exam is recommended before diagnosing a patient with dyslexia, or providing other treatments, such as colored lenses.

It is important to remember that not all people with dyslexia have the same problems with reading, learning, or work performance. There can be one or more (up to fifty) affected sites in the brain that can cause dyslexia— each site affecting the brain in different ways, and causing multiple, and often confusing, manifestations of dyslexia.

Inform your doctor of any family history of dyslexia, and any difficulties may have with oral language, namely: vocabulary retrieval, structuring appropriate sentences, or recognizing/manipulating sounds within words.

Is dyslexia causing my vision problems? 

Symptoms associated with dyslexia may include:

  • Words or letters appear to move
  • Seeing a glare on white paper
  • Eyestrain or headaches
  • Slow reading
  • Reduced attention and concentration
  • Comprehension difficulties
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Fatigue or tiredness when reading

These distortions may be caused by dyslexia, or by a conventional optometric anomaly such as hyperopic astigmatism, a deficit in the binocular vision system, or reduced visual efficiency.

The broad variety of vision conditions that may result from the symptoms listed above only serves to emphasize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to dyslexia diagnosis and treatment.

Is vision therapy effective for treating adults with dyslexia?

Yes. Vision therapy aimed at the improvement of visual efficiency and processing, is a highly effective treatment for dyslexia.

Vision therapy may involve the use of lenses or prisms to help train visual skills. In some cases, doctors may also recommend wear eyeglasses full time, or as needed for activities such as reading.

Dyslexia can lead to many difficulties that may be noticed at home and also in the workplace, affecting a person’s productivity, self esteem and quality of life. 

A person with dyslexia will struggle with many tasks that others are able to complete with ease. Vision problems associated with dyslexia can be effectively treated with effective optometric care, including vision therapy.

Vision therapy can help you to obtain clear and comfortable vision for enhanced performance, and a lifetime of success.