Vision plays a bigger role in learning than most people realize. Reading is a vital part of all aspects of learning, and when vision problems lead to reading issues and other learning difficulties, your child’s classroom performance is understandably going to suffer.
In many cases, concerned parents and teachers assume when a child has learning and reading difficulties along with behavior problems, that these are the result of ADHD. However, these difficulties could also be the result of an undiagnosed binocular vision dysfunction (BVD).
The Emotional Impact of Reading Difficulties on Children
For much of history, only the upper classes and religious leaders knew how to read. The average person rarely had the opportunity to learn, or even felt it necessary to do so. Today, however, the opposite is true. Those who can’t read or struggle to read are in the minority, and many times are labeled as slow or unintelligent. This perception can be a huge blow to a child’s self-esteem, causing them to become discouraged and even start to act out, which then often snowballs into a diagnosis of ADHD. All the while, in many cases it’s actually the eyes that are the problem.
How BVD Makes Reading Difficult
When a person has BVD, the eyes don’t work together as they should due to a misalignment of the eyes. Instead of the images seen by each of the eyes forming together in the brain into a single image, the images are out of alignment. This results in blurred or sometimes double vision, which the brain doesn’t tolerate. It responds by forcing the eyes to line up correctly, putting a lot of strain on the eye muscles and leading to issues such as eye fatigue, headaches and dizziness.
Up-close tasks such as reading and writing can be very difficult for a child with BVD. For some, numbers and letters appear to swim on the page. For others, focusing on the words is a problem, making reading a slow and painful process. Poor concentration, anxiety, a short attention span and emotional outbursts are all BVD symptoms that overlap with ADHD – which is why BVD patients are so frequently misdiagnosed.
Children with BVD are often misunderstood learners. They don’t lack intelligence, they simply learn differently. These children often unconsciously compensate for their visual deficiencies by becoming great auditory learners. If you know a child that has excellent verbal skills yet struggles with reading, there’s a high likelihood he or she may have this condition.
Don’t Delay – Schedule a NeuroVisual Exam
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD and is still struggling with learning and behavioral issues, BVD may be the problem. If this sounds familiar to you, take the time to contact Vision Specialists of Michigan to schedule a complete NeuroVisual examination. Our doctors are experienced in BVD treatment for children, and can prescribe special aligning prismatic lenses to correct your child’s vision problem and get them back on the path to successful learning. We are also be happy to take care of any other eyecare and optical needs you may have. Give us a call today at (248) 258-9000 and your child will thank you!