Personal stories from parents of children who despite having 20/20 vision, still benefited from vision therapy.
*Names have been changed for privacy protection.
Holly, age 9
At the beginning of my daughter Holly’s first grade school year, she complained of not being able to see the chalkboard. I knew she loved glasses and really wanted a pair, but thought it wouldn’t hurt to have her eyes checked.
I took her to an Optometrist and was told she had better than 20/20 vision. I was happy and bought her a cute pair of sunglasses.
Throughout the rest of the year, her reading progressed a little slower than I had expected. We have always read a lot and I was sure she was prepared to learn to read and that she really saw herself as a reader. It just didn’t seem like reading was clicking. Her teacher and I had some discussions about this too. I assured her [the teacher] that her vision had tested “better than 20/20.”
She remained with the same teacher as a second grader in a multi-age class. We both noticed odd little things in her reading. She missed simple words that I knew she knew. She skipped words and added words. Her teacher had discussed her with the reading specialist who didn’t feel that she had a “learning” problem.
Near the end of second grade, I heard about an eye doctor who specialized in kids with reading problems and made an appointment right away.
Dr. X diagnosed Holly with Convergence Insufficiency. He arranged for Holly to do Vision Therapy at home on the computer. She worked really hard at home during the summer, and at times she literally looked sick after a session. But just before school started, she finished her therapy.
I could not believe the difference in my child!
She just finished third grade and is proficient in all areas. She is so very confident and is doing just great in school. I don’t think she could have kept up this year if we hadn’t discovered her vision problem and corrected it.
I wish I had known you could have “better than 20/20” vision and still not be able to unscramble the words on a page.
I wonder how many kids struggle through school with a vision problem that could be corrected and no one even knows.
Mary A, Holly’s parent
Mikey, age 14
As a first grader, my son Mikey was reading at the third grade level, he was a prolific writer and had very little trouble with academics. However, by the time he reached third grade, nearly every aspect of school was a struggle.
Reading was no longer enjoyable, and writing, once approached with the most enthusiasm, was avoided at all costs. Homework assignments that should have taken no more than 15 minutes to complete would take up to two hours to do, and many times went unfinished.
Then Mikey hit a wall-literally. While approaching a drinking fountain, he walked into the wall. He saw two fountains and had gone to the wrong one. After that incident, he revealed that he often saw double, whether he was reading, writing, or playing.
Alarmed and desperate for an answer, we quickly connected his declining academics with the double vision and went looking for answers.
His vision was tested at 20/20, so a vision problem was initially eliminated. He was referred to a neurologist, and thankfully, a brain tumor was ruled out after an MRI. We were at a loss-we had ruled out lots of conditions, but we still had no answers.
While trying to find even a direction to begin investigating, I happened upon an article on Visual Learning Difficulties that included a checklist of symptoms. Mikey demonstrated about 70% of them. After comprehensive testing to identify the gaps in his visual development, he began an individualized program of Vision Therapy that lasted nine months.
The approach to Vision Therapy was developmental and specific to his needs both in the classroom and in daily life. Most of the activities were fun for him, and the most gratifying thing was that he felt that he was making progress almost immediately.
Mikey is now in 8th grade and performs at or above grade level in all subjects, and we attribute that to the skills and tools he learned in Vision Therapy.
After watching Mikey’s progress and discovering the applications of Vision Therapy, I have become a vision therapist myself, and have the opportunity to help others like Mikey fulfill their potential.
Alma W., Mikey’s parent
Brooke, age 16
Because of Vision Therapy, my daughter, Brooke, now reads with added enthusiasm and excitement. Both her school work and her attitude about school have improved and we couldn’t be more pleased!
Brooke’s vision problems remained undetected for nearly ten years because standard vision exams showed her to have 20/20 vision. She started developing headaches during school hours and upon examination by a local optometrist, it was determined that Brooke’s headaches were being caused by her visual inability to remain focused while doing close work, her inability to track moving objects, and an inability to use both eyes simultaneously.
Our optometrist noted that while eye glasses might relieve some of the tension and pressure on the eyes, it was not going to correct the problem. Vision Therapy was offered as a method of correcting Brooke’s vision problems.
Since completing Vision Therapy to correct her vision problems, improvements in many aspects of school and social areas have been noted. Brooke now loves to read and would rather read a good book than watch television!
The headaches have disappeared, as well as the blurred vision and physical fatigue she experienced while reading. Her reading speed and comprehension have improved. Brook’s softball performance has improved drastically, she was one of two team pitchers this year.
My husband and I couldn’t be happier with our daughter’s success through Vision Therapy. I encourage parents to have their children’s vision checked regularly by a licensed developmental optometrist.
I also encourage and support Vision Therapy as an effective and successful method of correcting visual problems.
Kathy A. M., Brooke’s parent
Christopher, age 10
The problems my son Christopher was having were beyond my comprehension. I never imagined he was having a vision problem.
Since participating in Vision Therapy, there has been a drastic and positive change in Christopher’s attitude toward wanting to achieve success in his studies. He loves to read and write and is much more interested in stopping by a bookstore to purchase a book. I am very proud of his success.
He has shown progress in school and shows great signs of maturity and high self-esteem.
Thank you for your service, care and concern. Keep up the great work!
Billie Jo T., Christopher’s parent
Evan, age 7
From kindergarten on, Evan showed signs of stress upon departing for school (crying, kicking the back of the car seats, irrationality). This behavior also occurred whenever we worked on homework together. Over time, we pulled him back a year thinking he was not quite ready for the demands of school.
This helped, but not as much as we had expected. He was still shrinking away from school-related activities and certain sport activities, such as throwing/catching balls and handling small objects etc.
None of Evan’s teachers had any insight into the things we saw. They continually said that he was doing fine and saw no signs of trouble/stress. I knew this couldn’t be right. I worried about my son’s future in school.
The light bulb came on for me one day when I was visiting an eye care center and I happened upon the binder full of stories about children and vision problems. I followed up with an information session and vision assessment with Dr. X. We found that while Evan has 20/20 vision, he had disabling problems with eye focusing.
Evan showed signs of improvement one month after beginning Vision Therapy sessions 3 times a week. Now, after completion of Vision Therapy, Evan finishes his homework lickety-split, no complaints, picks up his favorite books to read in bed, in the car, on the morning before school, and has improved in spelling and comprehension to a great degree.
Additionally, his ability catching and throwing balls and small objects improved greatly. Most importantly, he is much more comfortable in an academic environment now.
His interest and performance more closely match his level of intelligence.
Bill T. and Toni F., Evan’s parents
Bobby, age 6
Before Vision Therapy, my son was insecure and moody. Other children in his school classes teased him because he could not read or write. Although he scored at the gifted level on IQ tests, he’d say, “I’m too stupid” or “I can’t do it” when asked to do reading, writing, or arithmetic.
He had problems sleeping due to nightmares and night terrors. Our family spent a lot of time and money seeking help from at least eight medical “experts”. Finally, we were referred to Dr. X.
My son began wearing prism eyeglasses and started Vision Therapy. Immediately, he stopped rubbing his eyes and showing signs of fatigue when doing school work. Within three months, he was reading at second grade level! His sleeping problems disappeared.
Today, my son is a happy and confident six year old who is proud of his academic accomplishments. His social skills have improved along with his self-esteem.
Our family feels blessed to have found Dr. X and his caring, professional staff.
Thank you all for providing an invaluable service!
Linda H., Bobby’s parent
Bonnie, age 9
I brought my daughter to Dr. X for a developmental vision evaluation. She had a short attention span, made errors when copying, had poor writing, spelling, and reading comprehension. Her reading was slow and she skipped words. She really didn’t like to read.
Dr. X found what all the other doctors found when he tested her. Her eyes were healthy and she was able to see the smallest letters on the eye chart. She had “20/20” eyesight. Dr. X further tested all her visual skills required for learning.
He found that she could not follow along a line of print when she tried to read, she had difficulty keeping her vision in focus and could not shift her focus easily from the blackboard to her desk. She also had trouble keeping her eyes focused at the same point [at near], while reading her eyes got tired.
I enrolled my daughter in a program of Vision Therapy. After a few short weeks, I noticed she picked up a book on her own and read it without anyone telling her to. Other changes included less fatigue and headaches, better comprehension and getting more organized.
The most incredible change was that after four months of Vision Therapy, my daughter was retested at her school and her reading had improved three grade levels.
Scott, age 12
For many years, we struggled with our son. We felt that he was not performing up to his academic ability in school. Personality wise, he was obstinate and hard to reach. At one point, he was even on medication, because the doctors and teachers felt he had ADHD.
We decided to have his eyes examined. He has 20/20 vision, so he was not in need of glasses. But after Dr. X read the questionnaire that I filled out, he suggested further testing to determine if there was another kind of vision problem.
We were skeptical, but went ahead with the testing. Much to our dismay and relief, a problem was detected.
Now the hard part lay ahead: getting our son to come to the twice-weekly visits for 17 weeks. Remember, I said he was obstinate and hard to reach. It was a struggle to say the least, but we persevered and he has now finished his Vision Therapy.
Through these last 17 weeks, we have seen his hard shell exterior slowly melt away and a level of confidence that we had never seen before emerge. Our son has even started reading for pleasure, something he never did before.
Would we recommend Vision Therapy to others? Absolutely!
Mr. and Mrs. M, Scott’s parents
Caleb, age 8
Through our son’s Vision therapy, we have seen improvements in reading, comprehension, reading for fun, less sleepy while reading, fewer headaches, improved self confidence, improved concentration, and improved self-esteem.
Before Vision Therapy:
When we saw our son’s low reading score on a standardized test, we literally freaked out. How could this be when his teachers had not said anything was unusual? I had noticed that his eyes watered and he rubbed them a lot when he read. He also had a tough time recognizing the same word in a sentence.
When I took him for an eye exam and explained that he got headaches when he read, I thought for sure we had solved the problem. However, his report came back stating he had 20/20 vision. His 2nd grade teacher noticed that Caleb had trouble staying within a line when reading and recommended a visit with Dr. X. This proved to be what Caleb needed!
After Vision Therapy:
When Caleb was tested again in the spring after months of Vision Therapy, his scores jumped. He went from being in the first percentile to slightly above the average in a matter of six months!
He still has work to do and practice in reading but we now understand his trouble and can work with him.
Caleb S.’s parents
Josh, age 7
Josh would tell me every week his eyes would hurt and he complained of headaches if he was watching TV or reading and when doing homework. Teachers at school told me that Josh would have to repeat Kindergarten because he was so behind on everything in school.
I took him to the eye doctor for a check up. She said he could do without glasses. Six months later I met Dr. X. Since starting Vision Therapy, he is doing better in school with his reading and writing. He’s no longer reversing his letters and numbers.
Nancy, Josh’s parent
Nathan, age 7
Nathan would tire easily, and would be very frustrated that the words moved on the page. He would try to cover one eye to compensate, and he would see double and that freaked him out at times. He felt left out because other kids were reading and he could not.
He had a bad attitude about reading. I was angry and frustrated too, and thought it was me doing something wrong, or me being too hard on him.
Since Vision Therapy, Nathan has gained self confidence, he has a desire to read, and he knows he has better control of his eyes. I feel that if you see signs of a reading problem you should get tested as early as possible. Even if you don’t see any signs of a vision problem, you should have your child’s vision checked before starting school.
Don’t just check for 20/20, go to a developmental optometrist to check if tracking, eye teaming, and focusing are working before you start to have problems with reading.
Now Nathan is aware of his eyes more and is able to stay focused. He can read faster and smoother and has a good attitude about reading
Laurie, Nathan’s parent
Can you relate to any of these stories?
Have you been told that your child has 20/20 vision, but they are struggling academically and exhibit signs of a vision problem?
Schedule a vision evaluation as soon as possible.
The earlier a vision problem is detected, the sooner they can begin a vision therapy program to help them achieve the visual skills they need for clearer, more comfortable vision— and improved academic success.