Vision problems were found in 67% of Canadian children (ages 6 - 12 years old) who were in an IPP program. Eye-teaming deficits hindered these children's ability to stay focused while engaged in near work.
Reference: Christian, L., Peddle, A., Pennifold, S., Schellenberg, B. (2012, October). Binocular Anomalies in Elementary School Children with Reading Problems: preliminary results from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science, External Pediatrics Clinic. Research presentation at the 42nd Annual COVD Meeting, Fort Worth, TX.
Visual screenings at schools or medical offices rarely pick up these vision problems. If a child who is struggling to read and finding learning very difficult goes for an eye exam and is told that they are fine because they have 20/20 sight, a referral to a developmental optometrist (e.g. Dr. Neufeld at Calgary Vision Therapy is warranted).
There are different components of eye exam testing that can be performed.
Most eye exams cover the physical integrity which is concentrating on eye health and eye sight (20/20).
However children who are struggling with reading / learning need to have both the Visual Efficiency Testing (tracking, eye coordination, focusing) and Visual Information Processing (how we use or interpret what we see) tested more intensively. The testing needs to be more than just a 20/20 evaluation. It is unlikely that all these tests would be done in a basic eye exam.
Dr. Neufeld performs these in depth visual evaluations at Calgary Vision Therapy. Many Optometrists do refer to Dr. Neufeld already; however, if a child is on an IPP program, has been diagnosed with a learning difficulty, or suspects he/she may have a learning difficulty, this child should have these visual areas evaluated by a Developmental Optometrist, such as Dr. Neufeld. There may be a vision (non-20/20) problem that is increasing the amount of effort the child is forced to exert in their attempt to acquire information and learn.
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