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The causes of reading and learning problems in children are numerous. One source of these problems is overlooked a majority of the time and is related to our eyes. This problem is not regarding eyesight as you may think but related to vision. Let me explain the difference between eyesight and vision. Eyesight is how clearly a person is able to see whereas vision is that plus how the two eyes work together as a team and function properly and ultimately how the visual information is processed. The eyes may appear to be aligned and working properly together but, in actuality, they are not. Our eyes are designed to work together for proper visual efficiency. This allows for accurate tracking, alignment, and focusing. A child with a vision problem may think they see everything properly but, as is often stated, they don't know what they don't know.
A child struggling with reading may exhibit clumsiness in the classroom or playground, excessive squinting or closing one eye, excessive blinking or unusual postural positions when in the classroom or reading. A parent may notice variability in sports performance. The child may be one that can remember long passages heard in a movie or TV but has difficulty remembering what they have read.
These clues listed above a just a small number of clues that a parent or teacher may see but all of the clues may related back to a vision problem that is not only causing difficulties now but may cause increasing delays in the development of cognitive processing, reading skills and other processing skills. The answer may be as simple as a pair of glasses and/or vision therapy. In most cases glasses are prescribed, often with prism incorporated into the lenses. Prism cannot be seen but the effects are often profound in that patients report that prism produces increased eye coordination and function, increased comfort and increased reading efficiency. When a child is suffering from reading or learning problems a comprehensive binocular vision examination should be a the top of the list to rule-out a problem.
Dr. Huggett is a former public school teacher of 5 years and a doctor of optometry for 27 years. He brings this unique experience and background to his exam room to help students of all ages overcome reading and learning problems.