Which Eye Conditions Can Affect Learning?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, March 16, 2021
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According to the College of Optometrists In Vision Development (COVD), 25% of all children have an undiagnosed vision problem impacting their school grades.

If your child is the 1 out of every 4 children that is struggling in school, it could be their vision.

Children who struggle with school, or have a learning difficulty, and begin to fall behind their friends often become unmotivated to learn. 

With the help of a regular comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor experienced in children’s vision and vision therapy, your child may not have to struggle anymore.

If you think your child may have a vision problem, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible. The Find an Eye Doctor directory lists eye doctors near you that provide vision therapy for children.

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Here are a few eye conditions that can significantly impact reading and learning;

Amblyopia (lazy-eye)

Amblyopia, commonly known as ‘lazy eye’ is a visual condition that affects over 3 in 100 children.

A lazy eye can make it quite difficult to read— causing loss of place, re-reading words, skipping words, substituting or misreading words, and adding words into sentences.

While this condition cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses, with early detection and vision therapy, a child with amblyopia can achieve clear and comfortable binocular vision.

Convergence insufficiency 

Convergence insufficiency (CI) affects up to 17 percent of children and adults.

Convergence insufficiency (CI) is a common near-vision condition that affects the ability to learn, read, and work at near distances. This condition tends to manifest or worsen as the demands in school increase for reading and homework assignments.

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), the most effective treatment for CI is in-office vision therapy.

Strabismus (crossed eyes)

Strabismus affects approximately 4 in 100 children in the United States. 

Strabismus occurs when the two eyes are unable to maintain proper alignment or focus together on an object— one eye looks directly at the object, while the other eye points in a different direction.

Strabismus can impact a child’s ability to read and concentrate during near-vision tasks due to the partial or total loss of stereo vision and binocular depth perception. This can result in fatigue and headaches, and severely impact a child’s academic performance.

Vision therapy is generally recommended to treat the eye turn, but in some cases surgery to realign the eyes may be recommended as well.

Focusing difficulties

Focusing skills allow a student to maintain and establish clear and comfortable vision while performing near-vision tasks, when switching focus between two distances is necessary.

Focusing difficulties can greatly harm a child’s academic success. Fortunately, focusing skills can be developed and strengthened with a program of vision therapy.

Eye-tracking difficulties

Eye-tracking difficulties can occur when the eyes’ movements are slow or irregular. It can significantly affect a student’s ability to learn, read, and even play sports.

Fortunately, this skill can be strengthened with in-office vision therapy.

How does vision therapy help?

Vision therapy is a fully customized treatment program designed to improve and strengthen visual skills. Vision therapy is more than just simple eye exercises.

Each vision therapy program is customized to the individual needs of the child and may include specialized lenses, prisms, filters, and eye exercises to help retrain the eye-brain connection and improve vision.

If you think a vision problem may be making school difficult for your child, a vision therapy program may help to improve their visual skills and provide them with the necessary tools to succeed in school.

Schedule a functional vision evaluation with a developmental optometrist near you and give your child the chance to achieve success— both in the classroom and in the future.