In the classroom, eighty percent of our learning comes from our visual system. Many people think of vision being solely 20/20, but the clarity that we see is only a part of the road to successful learning. Reading alone requires many fundamental visual skills. The two eyes need to be able to fluidly move together along the words. If this doesn’t happen, words are skipped and lines are re-read. Also, while we read, the eye’s focusing system needs to keep the words clear, especially when our eyes are moving back and forth from a page to the smart board. Last, but not least, once the information is captured and sent to the brain, the brain has to make sense of what it receives (and remember it!).
Reading the chart at a school screening or the pediatrician’s office can miss important deficits in any child’s visual system. The screening only charts measure distance vision, whereas most learning in the classroom is concentrated at approximately 20 inches. Visual performance can function differently at the different viewing distances.
Comprehensive eye exams will measure the need for glasses and evaluate the eye health. If learning related problems persist despite a normal eye exam, talk to your eye doctor about an evaluation with a behavioral optometrist for a binocular vision and visual perceptual evaluation.