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Much of our learning is done visually.

Reading, spelling, writing, maths through to whiteboard and computer work are all among the tasks that students of ALL ages tackle all day, everyday. Each requires the ability to see quickly and visually understand information that is usually at less than an arm’s length from the eyes.

However many students’ visual abilities are simply not up to these types of learning situations. Crystal clear eyesight is not all that is required for these close-up visual tasks. Individuals need a variety of skills, including saccades (scanning), focusing and eye coordination for learning and for understanding the written word. If these skills are not developed, or are poorly developed the result is learning that is both difficult and stressful. The result is

  • Avoidance of close work entirely, or as much close work as possible
  • An attempt to do the work regardless of the level of understanding
  • Discomfort, fatigue and a short attention span
  • Adaption by becoming nearsighted or by suppressing the vision in one eye.

Behavioural Optometrists have a variety of options in helping their patients deal with visual stress, including

  • Vision training – a sequence of activities in which the student builds up visual skills and the ability to process, understand and use visual information.
  •  Prescribing “Stress-relieving lenses” which make it much easier for the child or adult to focus on near vision tasks such as reading.
  • Understanding gross and fine motor muscle control which may act as a barrier to accurate eye control and which may make text appear to move on the page.

Do you have 20/20 or 6/6 vision?

Behavioural Optometrists often find that students with 20/20 or 6/6 vision have learning related vision problems. The student can see well in the distance but is unable to undertake visual tasks at arms length. Most school screening programmes simply test distance vision, so that many learning related visual problems remain undetected. However, both parents, teachers and lecturers who understand and can identify the signs and symptoms can spot learning related visual problems.

A list of typical signs is on the following checklist. If you as a student or a parent recognise any of these signs, then it is time to book an appointment with a Behavioural Optometrist.

Typical signs of learning related vision problems

  • Holding the text (book, computer or tablet) too close (10 to 20cms away from the eyes)
  • Covering one ye when reading
  • Poor posture when undertaking close work
  • Holding the head at an extreme angle to the book when reading
  • Squinting when reading
  • Moving the head when reading, rather than moving the eyes
  • Poor attention span and sleepiness after prolonged close work
  • Homework takes far longer than is expected
  • The student reports blurred, or double vision when reading or reports that the text is moving on the page.
  • Loss of place when moving from close work to whiteboard.
  • Student uses a marker or finger to keep place on the page
  • The student is unable to describe what they have read
  • The student rubs their eyes when reading
  • The student blinks repeatedly when reading
  • Headaches after close work
  • Student fails to recognise the same word in subsequent sentences
  • Writing goes up or down with irregular spacing
  • Letter reversals
  • Small words omitted
  • Rereads the same line or omits lines repeatedly
  • Misaligns numbers in columns and rows

Eliminating visual problems and thereby reducing the impact of the above listed signs can quickly pay off in the student’s improved academic performance.

Visit www.visioncareoptometry.co.uk for more information above learning related vision problems

Dyslexia , Vision, Opticians, Learning Difficulties