Over 30% of those diagnosed as having dyslexia have an eye tracking deficit.
When a child has a visual processing or perceptual disorder it hinders their ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes and visual system. This does not mean they have problems with sharpness of vision or sight.
Many children have difficulties with eye tracking, which impacts how the brain interprets visual information.
What is eye tracking?
Eye tracking, also called visual tracking, is the eyes’ ability to track from left to right in an efficient manner and to follow moving objects.
Eye tracking problems are successfully treated with vision therapy.
Eye movements should be quick, consistent and smooth.
Eye tracking is critical to success in sports and school. The ability to track a ball or words on a page are affected when a person has poor eye tracking skills.
Poor eye tracking skills can cause difficulty in math, reading and writing. The issue is not with the eyes themselves, but the eye muscles. With poor eye tracking, eye motions may lack smoothness, causing vision to be jumpy. This can be a big contributor to dyslexia symptoms.
If you suspect your child has a learning difficulty, contact an eye doctor near you, who can diagnose and treat any visual problems.
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Eye tracking symptoms
Some of the symptoms associated with eye tracking deficits include:
- Difficulty paying attention
- Difficulty copying from the board at school
- Guessing of words
- Guided reading – uses a finger when reading
- Loss of place when reading, writing, or copying
- Omits words or transposes words when reading
- Overwhelmed by pages of text
- Poor accuracy with word endings
- Poor awareness of punctuation
- Poor reading comprehension, fluency and speed
- Poor handwriting
- Poor sports performance
- Skips sentences
- Resists or avoids reading
- Re-reads words or sentences
- Reverses words or letters
- Rubs or squints eyes when reading
- Tilts head when reading
- Words or text may appear to float or move on the page
Vision therapy and eye tracking
The best way to treat a visual tracking disorder is with vision therapy.
Vision therapy is a customized program to help strengthen the eye-brain connection, which is often weak in a person with visual tracking problems. It involves specific exercises designed to teach the eyes how to move smoothly from one place to another.
Sometimes reading lenses and/or bifocals can be helpful to reduce eye tracking symptoms. Therefore your eye doctor may recommend a vision therapy program along with lenses.
LEARN MORE: Guide to Vision and Learning Difficulties
Schedule an appointment with a vision therapy eye doctor near you to evaluate your child’s eye tracking abilities.
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