More than 70% of a child’s learning is done through their visual system. Studies show that 1 out of every 4 children have a vision problem that impacts learning. Unfortunately, many of these problems stem from vision processes parents are unfamiliar with, leading to lack of appropriate testing and evaluations. This is understandable, because most people think about vision only in terms of 20/20 visual acuity, but vision is actually much more complex than that. It is three interacting processes:

  1. Eyesight (visual sharpness and clarity)
  2. How our eyes function (eye focusing, tracking and teaming that can be evaluated during a functional/binocular vision evaluation), and
  3. Visual processing, which is how the brain interprets, analyzes, and integrates information that our eyes see with other sensory modalities.

Visual processing disorders cannot be corrected by glasses or contact lenses, and patients with visual processing disorders do not “outgrow” this condition. Instead, they often develop techniques on their own to overcome or compensate for these challenges when possible. At Family Eye Wellness, visual processing evaluations are done at a separate visit to all other visits. Once the exam is completed, a parent-doctor consultation is scheduled to review results and treatments. An official report is given with a list of classroom accommodations that can be then shared with the child’s educators and other providers.

Vision-Related Reading and Learning Disabilities can be diagnosed during a visual processing evaluation. Signs of other problems such as dyslexia or attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be obvious during this evaluation, but as a formal diagnosis cannot be made at Family Eye Wellness for these conditions, an appropriate referral for further evaluations can be made instead.

The following areas are evaluated during a visual exam:

  1. Visual-motor integration - the ability to integrate vision with motor movements
  2. Visual memory - the ability to recognize and recall previously presented visual information
  3. Visual discrimination - the ability to detect the difference between similar items
  4. Visual attention - the ability to attend to relevant visual information from all other visual information available
  5. Eye movements
  6. Directionality/laterality - motor awareness of the two sides of the body as well as the ability to know right from left, up from down and forward from backward.

It is recommended to schedule a visual processing evaluation if any of the following signs or symptoms are present:

  • Difficulty with matching

  • Difficulties completing work under timed conditions

  • Struggles with visual information; a preference for auditory learning instead of visual learning

  • Difficulty visualizing concepts, like picturing a story in their head

  • Difficulty with reading or sight words

  • Overwhelmed with visually noisy environments (visual clutter)

  • Reversing letters/numbers/words

  • Having trouble aligning numbers when doing math or solving math problems

  • Difficulty identifying position in space

  • Difficulty with writing or coloring inside the lines