Vision Problems And Learning Difficulties
Visual representations enhance learning. This is why most people today like to learn new skills from YouTube or images online. Experts insist that children learn information in school best from visual representation.
It explains why many educators insist on checking a child’s vision first if they have trouble learning. They probably cannot see the board or the books well.
If you are a guardian with a child who is struggling to learn, perhaps it is time you visit an eye doctor to get their eyes checked.
It is important to rule out refractive euros and other eye problems. An eye exam may reveal why your child is struggling to learn. And if not, at least you will know.
We encourage guardians to follow this entry to learn more about vision problems and learning difficulties.
Learning Disabilities Vs. Learning Difficulties
First things first, there is a difference between learning disabilities and learning difficulties due to vision problems. You would be surprised just how many people confuse the two.
Vision issues do not cause learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Instead, it is all about processing visual information by the brain. The disabilities lie in processing information from the clear images sent to the brain from vision.
Vision problems can cause learning difficulties because the child will struggle with reading and writing due to blurry vision, refractive errors, misaligned eyes, etc. Once corrected, these vision problems stop affecting learning.
Causes and Risk Factors
Heredity is often the leading risk factor for vision-related learning difficulties. The two are intertwined, especially in causing refractive errors. A family history of vision problems puts kids at greater risk of learning difficulties. So, if family members have visual disorders, it is best to get your child to an eye doctor.
Refractive and general eye health problems
Refractive errors are nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. General eye health problems can be blurry vision, lazy eyes, crossed eyes, etc. These problems affect visual acuity, the ability of the eye to distinguish shapes or details of things at a given distance. Thus, your child may have trouble learning.
The eye test to determine these issues involves testing each eye individually. If found to have any of these conditions, your child will receive corrective lenses to improve vision.
Functional vision is how the eyes, visual pathways, and the brain work in unison to interact with your environment. This function is important for efficient reading. Convergence insufficiency is an example of functional vision problems. It affects how the eyes work together when looking at nearby items. The patient will experience blurry or double vision.
Perceptual vision is the ability to perceive colors, patterns, and structures (the surroundings) through the light that enters the eyes. It is important for reading, such as when recognizing words, you have previously seen.
Color blindness, while not a learning-related vision problem. They will not get it right if they have to match or identify colors with colorblindness. So, this is something you should ask the eye doctor to check too.
If you think your child has vision problems that are causing learning difficulties, watch out for the following symptoms:
- Blurred or double vision
- Eye strain and squinting
- Short attention span
- Rubbing eyes excessively
- Eye tearing
- Excessive blinking
- Crossed eyes or eyes that move independently
- Placing the book too close or too far when reading
- Unable to read without a finger guide
- Unusually slow reading
- Frequently losing place when reading
- Sloppy handwriting
- Trouble responding in writing
Your child may also avoid or opt-out of learning activities and can only read for an unusually short time.
A thorough eye exam is the first step of diagnosis. An ophthalmologist or optometrist can conduct an eye exam to determine your child’s issue. Correcting these errors would eliminate your child’s difficulties with learning.
These tests can be as extensive as writing tasks, visual memory tests, reading efficiency, and copying forms. If the doctor rules out every possible issue with no results, then it could be a non-visual issue and will recommend the next steps.
Treatment can be as simple as getting lenses to correct the visual problem. If the issue is a refractive error, you can ask the teacher to switch their sitting position in class to accommodate the problem. But it is not necessary with the right lenses.
If your child has visual perception issues, the doctor will recommend vision training to help the child develop the necessary skills for learning.
Functional vision problems such as convergence insufficiency are treated with therapy and visual exercises the child can practice at home.
Unfortunately, if the risk factor is genetics, there is no prevention of the visual disorder. But as discussed, your child can get corrective lenses.
However, you can ensure that your child keeps a healthy balanced diet with nutrients that support optimal eye health.
Eye doctors agree that early detection can improve treatment and recovery. Therefore, as soon as your child starts to perceive objects, colors, and shapes, observe their tendencies.
When they start school, practice their school work and see how they respond to learning activities like reading and writing. Engage your child in stimulating learning activities to improve their abilities.
So now that you know a little about how vision problems could affect your child’s learning activities, you can book an appointment with our facility.
We have certified and experienced eye physicians who can examine and diagnose your child’s visual issues to improve their learning.
We encourage caregivers to keep an eye out for the symptoms mentioned above. Similarly, if your family has a history of visual problems, ensure your child gets tested as soon as possible. Also, note that some symptoms do not manifest until adolescence. Therefore, keep up with frequent eye tests.
Finally, encourage your child to practice learning activities. Join them to ensure learning and be patient by setting realistic goals and using encouraging words. With time, your child should get better, and you will have nothing to worry about.