We all know vision is essential for students to reach their full academic potential and as parents, we all want the best for our kids.

Learning-related vision problems

  1. Refractive errors. 
    Visual acuity is measured by an eye chart.  Refractive errors are usually correctable with prescription glasses or contact lenses and include farsightedness (hyperopia), nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism.
  2. Functional vision problems.
    During your child’s eye exam, the doctor will assess his/her functional vision is 3 specific areas.  Problems in any of these important skills can cause blurriness, double vision, strain and/or headaches – all symptoms that affect learning.
    – Binocularity: How your child’s eyes work together as a team.
    – Extraocular movements: How your child’s eyes move is especially important for efficient reading.
    – Accommodation: How your child’s eyes focus.
  3. Perceptual vision problems.
    Visual perception is how we identify what we see, judge it and relate it to previously stored information in the brain in order to understand what we see.  We use visual perception to recognize words that we’ve seen before or to form a mental picture when we’re reading something.

Symptoms of vision problems

  • crossed eyes or eyes that move out independently of each other (strabismus)
  • dislike or avoidance of reading
  • short attention span
  • turning or tilting the head to see something
  • closing or covering one eye to see something
  • placing the head very close to books when reading
  • excessive blinking
  • constant eye rubbing
  • poor eye-hand coordination
  • losing place while reading or using a finger a guide

Children with learning difficulties (whether they are related to their vision or not) may also experience emotional symptoms as well, such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.

To determine if a vision problem is causing a learning problem in your child, a comprehensive eye examination should be your first step.  If no vision problem is detected, your eye doctor will recommend you to see an educational specialist next.


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