Vision and Learning

Most children have no idea how they are supposed to see.  Therefore it is important that you know the signs that a vision problem is interfering with your child’s ability to read and learn.

Do you know your vision facts?

One out of four children struggle with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems. 
It is estimated that over 60% of problem learners have undiagnosed vision problems. 
80% of learning in the classroom is visual.
Seeing clearly (“20/20”) is just one of 17 visual skills critical to academic success. 

The majority of the vision problems that interfere with reading and learning are very treatable.

According to the American Federation of Teachers vision plays an important role in our children’s education and that:

“Even the most gifted students will struggle academically if they have trouble seeing the blackboard or focusing on a book. A tremendous amount of learning happens visually, so proper vision care is crucial to helping students reach their full potential.”

Vision screenings in school and at the pediatrician’s office usually only test distance vision.  Most people think that 20/20 is “perfect vision”, when in fact 20/20 is simply a measurement of what someone is able to see at a distance of 20 feet.  Most of our learning is through reading, which is not at 20 feet at all!

There are 17 visual skills required for reading and learning, including the ability to point the eyes together, to focus the eyes, to move across the page properly.  These skills are often not tested in most vision screenings.  Passing a vision screening which tests only distance vision leads parents to believe incorrectly that nothing is wrong.

The eye exam from the eye doctor’s office is designed to test how healthy your eyes are and to see if you need glasses or contact lenses.  The eye exam is not designed to test ALL of the 17 visual skills required for academic success.

If any of these visual skills are not working properly, it can make reading and learning an unnecessary challenge.  Some children develop behavior problems, while others avoid reading or simply refuse to read.  Usually the child is bright, causing parents to be confused by the child’s difficulties.  Often the child is labeled hyperactive, lazy, or slow.  What makes this even worse is that many of these problems can easily be mistaken as learning disabilities or attention problems such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

Do you need a developmental vision evaluation?  Look over the symptom checklist to see how many signs your child has.


  • Loses place on the page
  • Uses finger as a pointer
  • Headaches working up close
  • Words run together when reading
  • Burning, itchy, watery eyes
  • Falls asleep when reading
  • Complains of blurred or double vision
  • Skips/repeats lines when reading
  • Has an eye turn or lazy eye
  • Dizziness/nausea with near work
  • Tilts head/closes one eye when reading
  • Difficulty coping from whiteboard
  • Avoids near work/reading
  • Omits small words when reading
  • Writes uphill or downhill
  • Mis-aligns digits or columns of numbers
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Holds reading material too close
  • Trouble keeping attention on reading
  • Difficulty completing assignments on time
  • Sees worse at the end of the day
  • Homework takes longer than it should
  • Poor handwriting
  • Does not judge distance accurately
  • Clumsy/knocks things over
  • Motion sickness
  • Labeled “lazy”, “slow learner”, “AD(H)D” or “behavior problem”