Many students who have problems adjusting to the demands of the classroom and homework have underlying, undetected vision problems
which limit the intake or processing of visual information. 85% of all classroom learning comes through the visual system. Vision problems or poor visual skills can result in difficulties with overall learning, reading, math, test performance, and even sports.
Because it's not possible to know how another person sees, problems that affect visual clarity, visual perception and visual memory can easily go undetected. These problems are difficult for parents or teachers to recognize and equally as difficult for children to describe. Often times parents rely on school screenings or screenings at the pediatrician's office to detect vision problems. Unfortunately, most screenings use a visual acuity chart which can identify children who exhibit blurry distance vision. However, these visual acuity charts will not identify problems with eye-teaming, focusing ability, eye movement control, depth perception, visual perception, visual information processing, or the ability to sustain visual performance required to meet the visual demands of the classroom.
Children with learning-related vision problems frequently "pass" screenings at school and the pediatrician's office, or have their eyes found to be "normal" during a traditional eye examination. That's why it's important for children to have eye examinations with a Developmental Optometrist, like those at Artisan Optics. Developmental Optometrists specialize in pediatric vision, visual performance and visually-related learning difficulties. Developmental Optometrists prescribe treatment which can include glasses, contact lenses, vision therapy, Interactive Metronome therapy or a combination of these. The prescribed treatment plan is tailored specifically to your child and determined by the results of the examination.
The five most common undetected vision problems include:
- Delayed or incomplete vision development
- Focusing and eye-teaming problems
- Eye movement control and visual tracking
- Amblyopia and / or Strabismus
- Visual perception, visual memory and visual information processing
If you suspect a visually-related learning problem use our online assessment tool or use our checklists to gather information. Ask your child's teacher if he/she would be willing to complete the checklists. Often times the information provided by an educator can identify deficit areas that aren't as easily detected at home. Please bring this information along to your child's exam so you can discuss your findings, possible solutions and recommended treatment with our Developmental Optometrists.
Eye dilation during eye examinations
Eye dilation is an important part of an eye examination. Dilation allows the eye doctor to evaluate the health of the eyes and is an important part of early detection of eye disease and conditions that would otherwise go unnoticed.
However, any eye examination done entirely while the eyes are dilated will seriously limit the ability to diagnose visually-related learning problems. The drops used to dilate the eyes will temporarily paralyze the focusing muscles. This prevents the accurate diagnosis of problems related to focusing at reading distances and rapid change of focus between the desk and the whiteboard. These focusing skills need to be evaluated under normal functioning conditions. Eye dilation is necessary and done routinely but should be done only after adequate near vision testing has been completed.
Listen to the questions asked by your doctor to determine if he/she is sensitive to learning-related vision problems. If learning and school performance is not stressed and you have concerns, do not hesitate to ask specific quesitons about your child's learning problems.
If your doctor reports that there is nothing wrong, or that nothing further can be done, and yet your child's problems persist do not hesitate to obtain a second opinion from one of our Developmental Optometrists at Artisan Optics. Specializing in visually-related learning deficits since 1991.