The Benefits of Vision Therapy for Reading and Writing

Little girl reading a book

Can Vision Therapy Improve Reading and Writing?

Not all academic problems are related to learning disorders. In fact, your child may struggle with reading and writing due to a subtle vision problem. Vision issues can affect your son or daughter's ability to copy words and numbers correctly, write legibly, or remember what he or she just read. Fortunately, vision therapy offers an effective way to treat many vision problems that cause reading and writing difficulties.

But My Child Wears Glasses or Has 20/20 Vision! How Could He or She Have a Vision Problem?

Visual acuity, the ability to see clearly, is just one aspect of good vision. Your child may be able to read all of the lines on the eye chart, and still have a vision problem.

Good vision relies on a strong connection between the eyes and brain. The eyes convert light rays into impulses and send them to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain processes the impulses and combines them to form one clear image. Even minor glitches in this intricate system can make reading and writing difficult.

Reading or writing problems can be related to one of these conditions:

  • Strabismus: Commonly called "crossed eyes," strabismus affects the alignment of the eyes. If the eyes aren't properly aligned, the brain receives slightly different information from each eye. Even slight alignment issues can affect vision.
  • Amblyopia: Amblyopia, or "lazy eye" occurs when the brain ignores input from one eye. Uncorrected strabismus is a common cause of amblyopia.
  • Eye Movement Disorder: It's difficult to read if your eyes don't move smoothly from word to word.
  • Convergence Insufficiency: Convergence insufficiency (CI) occurs when both eyes don't turn inward at the same degree when focusing on near objects. Blurry or double vision when reading can be symptoms of CI.
  • Eye Teaming: When both eyes don't work together as a team, the brain struggles to produce a clear image.
  • Visual Perception: Visual perception problems can affect sequencing, memory, and the ability to correctly interpret and understand what you see.

The Benefits of Vision Therapy

During vision therapy, your child's vision therapist uses specially designed activities and games to strengthen and improve the connection between the eyes and brain. Therapy is tailored to your child's age and specific vision problem.

It's difficult to write legibly if you can't copy or write letters correctly due to a vision issue. When your child's vision improves, you may also see changes in his or her handwriting. Activities and exercises that help the eyes work together smoothly as a team make it easier to write on lined paper and read without losing your place.

Vision therapy sessions can also reduce eyestrain, fatigue, and headaches and eliminate double or blurred vision when reading.

Thanks to vision therapy, your child may no longer:

  • Reverse letters or numbers
  • Have difficulty remembering or understanding what he or she read
  • Struggle to recognize words, letters, and numbers
  • Write letters bigger or smaller than normal or space the letters in a word incorrectly
  • Guess left or right incorrectly
  • Take longer than normal to read a paragraph or page
  • Avoid reading or homework
  • Find it difficult to remember numbers or words in the correct sequence

Although vision therapy is often recommended for children, it can also be helpful for adults. In fact, if you become easily fatigued when reading, lose your place often, or struggle with double vision when you read, you may have an undiagnosed vision problem. Fortunately, your vision therapist can help you fine-tune your visual abilities regardless of your age.

Vision therapy can help you or your child improve your writing and reading abilities. Contact our office to schedule your appointment for a comprehensive vision examination.

Sources:

American Optometric Association: A Look at Reading and Vision

College of Optometrists in Vision Development: Forward Progress from Backward Letters, 8/5/16

All About Vision: Are Learning-Related Vision Issues Holding Your Child Back?

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