When it comes to children, a good part of understanding their needs comes from asking the right questions. If you have a school-age child or know a student who is struggling to read, there’s one critical question you need to ask: “Do words ever look fuzzy, wiggly or seem like they’re coming apart when you read?” If they answer yes to this question, chances are good that a binocular vision issue is interfering with their ability to read, which in turn is affecting their learning.
Most schools and many health departments provide a yearly visual acuity test for distance (far) vision for elementary-age students (a.k.a. the “look down the hall” 20/20 test). However, these exams are very basic, and problems such as Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) or trouble with near vision usually go undetected.
What Is Binocular Vision?
Binocular vision refers to the ability of the eyes to work together to create one clear visual image. Even if a child passed the vision screening with a 20/20 score, they could still have an undiagnosed binocular vision problem. This issue is a serious obstacle to learning, as it impacts the way the eyes coordinate and focus on printed words when reading. If fact, according to a recent study in the Journal of Optometry, children who qualify for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) are much more likely to have binocular vision issues that are influencing their learning.
How Binocular Vision Affects Reading
One of the most foundational elements of vision is eye coordination. When the eyes aren’t lining up properly, close tasks such as reading become very difficult. This is particularly true for children, who already struggle with focusing and sitting still. For many children with undiagnosed binocular vision problems, the printed words on the page overlap. As their brains try to adjust and overcome this issue, the effort often results in headaches and dizziness, emotional problems and behaviors similar to those displayed by children with ADD/ADHD.
Is Your Child Struggling With Reading?
It may surprise you to learn that most children who see print in double never mention it to their parents. This is due to the simple fact that, to them, the way they see words is “normal” because they’ve never known any different. If your child is struggling with reading or has other learning/behavioral issues in school, take the time to schedule a comprehensive NeuroVisual Examination to determine if the eyes are the root of the problem. Call us today at (248) 258-9000 or fill out our online BVD questionnaire.