What is Eyesight? What is Vision?

Eyesight, which involves the ability of the eye to
distinguish small details, is only one component of eye

Guide to Classroom Vision Problems

Vision is the result of the child’s ability to interpret
and understand
the information that comes to him through his eyes. Many
children can demonstrate 20/20 sight and still have a
critical and interfering vision problem! It has also been
shown that the informed parent and/or teacher make the very
best “screening instruments” for identifying those vision
problems that tend to cancel the teacher’s efforts in the

Vision and Learning

Many children and adults continue to struggle with
learning in the classroom and the workplace.

It has been estimated that 75% of all classroom learning
comes to the student via the visual pathways. If there is
any interference with these pathways, the student will
experience difficulty with learning.

Learning is accomplished through complex and interrelated
processes C one of the key aspects is vision.

What Visual Skills Are Needed For School

Vision is a fundamental factor in the learning process.
People at risk for learning-related vision problems should
receive a comprehensive optometric evaluation.

The role of the optometrist when evaluating people for
learning-related vision problems is to conduct a thorough
assessment of eye health and visual functions, and
communicate the results and recommendations.

The three interrelated areas of visual functions are:

1. Visual pathway integrity including eye health, visual
acuity, and refractive status;

2. Visual efficiency including accommodation (focusing),
binocular vision (eye teaming), and eye movements;

3. Visual information processing including identification
and discrimination, spatial awareness, memory, and
integration with other senses.

Eye Movement Control (Eye Tracking

Eye movements require the highest level of movement
precision. Well-integrated eye movements allow for rapid and
accurate shifting of the eyes along the lines of print in a
book, quick and accurate shifts from desk to chalkboard, and
sure visual tracking in sports.

Inadequate eye movement control will cause an individual
to lose their place when reading, have difficulty copying
from the blackboard, and skip or omit small words when

Accommodation – Focusing Ability

Rapid and automatic visual focusing is essential to
efficient performance. Visual focus is also directly related
to the ability to sustain visual attention.

Focusing deficiencies will increase the time necessary
for copying from the blackboard, induce visual fatigue
and/or avoidance of close work, and result in reduced
reading comprehension. In addition, visual focusing
difficulties will make it more difficult for an individual
to focus their attention and will contribute to attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Binocular Integration – Eye Teaming

The human visual system is designed so that the eyes and
their reciprocating muscles can work to such a high degree
of teaming that the two eyes perform as one. This skill is
intimately related to eye movement control and focusing

Deficiencies in eye teaming will cause an individual to
use excess effort when focusing for reading and writing and
will reduce their ability to sustain visual attention.

Visual-Motor Integration (Eye-Hand

Skill in eye-hand coordination is essential to accurate
and stress-free writing and to efficient performance in

Deficiencies in eye-hand coordination will make
handwriting more difficult or fatiguing, and may also affect
overall sports performance.

Visual Form Perception

Form evaluation skills allow for immediate and accurate
discrimination of likeness and differences and the ability
to reproduce and generalize forms.

Deficiencies in visual form perception may result in
difficulty recognizing or confusion of similar words.

Visual Intake – Visual Memory

Obtaining maximum visual information in the shortest
possible time provides for optimal performance. The ability
to retain this information over an adequate period of time
is essential for reading comprehension and spelling.

Dysfunctions in visual intake and visual memory may cause
difficulty recognizing the same word on the next page and
reduced reading comprehension. It will also result in
prolonged time copying assignments and difficulties
transferring information from one place to another.

How Are Visual Problems Treated?

Unresolved visual deficits can impair the ability to
respond fully to educational instruction. Management may
require optical correction, vision therapy, or a combination
of both. Vision therapy, the art and science of developing
and enhancing visual abilities and remediating vision
dysfunctions, has a firm foundation in vision science, and
both its application and efficacy have been established in
the scientific literature.

Optometric treatment for a vision dysfunction may include
the use of lenses, prisms, visual training programs, and
developmental vision guidance. In addition, specific
recommendations may also be made concerning general health
and nutrition.

What Are The Clues To Look For When A Visual
Problem Is Suspected?

These symptoms may indicate that you or your child has a
vision problem?

Physical Clues

· Red, sore or itchy eyes

· Jerky eye movements, one eye turning in or out

· Squinting, eye rubbing, or excessive blinking

· Blurred or double vision

· Headaches, dizziness, or nausea after reading

· Head tilting, closing or blocking one eye when

Performance Clues

· Avoidance of near work

· Frequent loss of place

· Omits, inserts, or rereads letters/words

· Confuses similar looking words

· Failure to recognize the same word in the next

· Poor reading comprehension

· Letter or word reversals after first grade

· Difficulty copying from the chalkboard

· Poor handwriting, misaligns numbers

· Book held too close to the eyes

· Inconsistent or poor sports performance

Secondary Symptoms

· Smart in everything but school

· Low self-esteem, poor self-image

· Temper flare-ups, aggressiveness

· Frequent crying

· Short attention span

· Fatigue, frustration, stress

· Irritability

· Day dreaming


· Lazy

· Dyslexic

· Attention deficit disorder

· Slow learner

· Behavioral problem

· Juvenile delinquent

· Working below potential

For further information concerning the prevention, early
detection, and correction of learning-related vision
problems, contact:

Osteopathic Center for Children

4135 54th Place

San Diego, CA 92105

(619) 583-7611 / Fax (619) 583-0286

San Diego Center for Vision Care

7898 Broadway

Lemon Grove, CA 91945

(619) 464-7713/FAX (619) 464-7668

Parents Active for Vision Education (P.A.V.E.)

National Headquarters

9620 Chesapeake Drive, Suite 105

San Diego, CA 92123

(619) 467-9620 / FAX (619) 467-9624

(800) PAVE-988

College of Optometrists in Vision Development

P.O. Box 285

Chula Vista, CA 91912-0285

(619) 425-6191 / FAX (619) 425-0733

Optometric Extension Program Foundation (O.E.P.)

1921 E. Carnegie Avenue, Suite 3L

Santa Ana, CA 92705

(714) 250-8070 / FAX (714) 250-8157

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Avatar Written by Carl G. Hillier OD FCOVD

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