In this research study, students who were ALREADY diagnosed with ADHD were given office-based visual skills therapy. After the therapy, symptoms such as loss of place while reading, needing to re-read, reading slowly, loss of concentration, trouble remembering what was read IMPROVED significantly. In addition, these students’ attention scores IMPROVED after therapy as tested by the Conners 3 ADHD Index. The research team concluded that visual skills problems affect attention and can contribute to behavioral and academic problems.
Does your child have difficulty maintaining his/her attention when asked to do schoolwork? Is your child seemingly bright, but not showing it academically? Visual skills may be playing a role in this. If so, office-based visual skills therapy can help. Schedule a visual skills exam in addition to a yearly eye exam.
Here are the results of a clever study: Students who DID NOT have ADHD or visual skills problems, were temporarily MADE TO HAVE a visual skills problem by the research team. Their sustained attention dropped significantly as tested by the Conners CPT compared to before they were made to have a visual skills problem. The research team concluded that visual skills affect sustained attention and that visual skills problems often compound the symptoms of inattention.
Does your child lose concentration easily when asked to read, write or complete near-work? Visual skills might be playing a role in his/her inattention. Schedule a visual skills exam in addition to a yearly eye exam.
Why is a yearly eye exam as well as a visual skills exam potentially so important for students as they enter a new school year? Over the next couple of weeks we will look at well-designed clinical studies to help us understand the importance of vision, which includes eyesight and visual skills, in learning.
We will start with this recent finding. In a study involving students who werealready diagnosed with a visual skills problem, their top 5 most frequent complaints were:
loss of place while reading
needing to re-read
loss of concentration
trouble remembering what was read.
Does your child exhibit any of those five symptoms? If so, then maybe it’s due to an undiagnosed visual skills problem. A yearly exam is a good place to start, but yearly eye exams do not check for the visual skills problems that can cause those symptoms. Schedule a visual skills exam in addition to the yearly eye exam.
Could your child’s vision be affecting his/her ability to read, write or learn? It’s not just about a child failing. Many bright children perform below their potential because they are being limited by their vision issues. These vision issues could include the need for glasses as well as poorly developed visual skills.
The following survey has been tested nationwide. If your child totals 20 or more points on the survey, then he/she is at a much greater risk for vision affecting academics. Visit the following link to check if your child may be affected by undiscovered vision issues: https://goo.gl/forms/rFnkCBreFBdKNjJy2
25-30% of children have vision problems that interfere with academics
Students who failed vision screenings scored worse on standardized tests
In a clinical study involving elementary-aged school children published in 2017, those who had failed a vision screening scored significantly worse on standardized tests of reading, grammar and punctuation, spelling and numeracy compared to students who had not failed the vision screening.
In another clinical study, near visual skills, not just visual acuity, explained 40% of the variance in reading accuracy performance and 30% of the variance in reading comprehension amongst elementary school children. Put another way, near visual skills were contributory factors in every 4 out of 10 children who performed worse than the average reading accuracy score. Near visual skills were also contributory factors in every 3 out of 10 children who performed worse than the average reading comprehension score.
Checking for a child’s need for eyeglasses is important. Investigating a child’s near visual skills is equally, if not even more, important if he/she is struggling academically because most of a student’s visual demand is within 16-18 inches. We specialize in vision development and its effect on reading, writing and learning.
1 in 10 children suffer from a vision problem that affects academics. School and pediatrician screenings only check for the ability to see the board clearly. However, 80% of learning occurs through the eyes, and screenings only check one small part of vision. For example, undetected farsightedness, undetected astigmatism, poor eye-focusing skills, inaccurate eye coordination skills and imprecise fine eye movements can all contribute to reading difficulties. If your child is struggling with school, take time out to check her vision. Start first with a yearly eye exam, and then if necessary, schedule a full-fledged visual skills exam that will evaluate the entire visual system and how it may be affecting your child.
“25% of students in grades K-6 have visual problems that are serious enough to impede learning.” – American Public Health Association
“It is estimated that 80% of children with a learning disability have an undiagnosed vision problem.” – Vision Council of America
“Early diagnosis and treatment of children’s vision problems is a necessary component to school readiness and academic learning; and that vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor. Comprehensive eye and vision examinations…are important for all children first entering school and regularly throughout their school-aged years to ensure healthy eyes and adequate visual skills essential for successful academic achievement.” – National PT Policy Statement 2005, Elements of Comprehensive Health Programs
Amidst the excitement of new school supplies, bus routes and teachers, a yearly eye exam is often overlooked. Poor eyesight and visual skills affect academics. Even small amounts of farsightedness or astigmatism have been shown to affect reading speed and increase fatigue when doing near-work. Visual skills such as eye coordination, fine eye movements and focusing skills have been implicated in contributing to poor academic performance.
Sometimes a yearly eye exam is not enough to catch the visual skills that can affect school because vision is more than just 20/20. If the need arises, we can conduct a full visual skills analysis as it relates to academics. We specialize in vision development and its effects on learning and development. This point is important. An eye doctor who does not specialize in this area will overlook the role of visual skills. We have seen many struggling students who have been told by their previous eye doctor that “their eyes are just fine” when they actually have visual skills problems affecting learning. Once their visual skills deficiencies have been diagnosed and treated, their academic struggles improved. Those doctors did not do anything wrong. In fact, they provided excellent yearly eye exams to those students. However, visual skills and its effects on academics was not the area of expertise of those doctors.
Every student should receive a yearly eye exam during the school year. Any child who is struggling with school should also have a full visual skills analysis. For more information on what we do, please visit our website or call us.