August is National Children’s Vision & Learning Month
College of Optometrists in Vision Development Offers Help to Struggling Schools & Students
This August marks the seventh annual observance of the vital role vision plays in academic success. The message is simple: when children continue to struggle with reading despite all best efforts to help, vision disorders are often lurking below everyone’s radar.
One of the largest optometric studies performed on the relationship between vision and learning found that “visual factors are significantly better predictors of academic success as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills than is race or socio-economics.” This study
involved 540 students over 3 consecutive school years, with a total of 2,659 examinations. While this study was released in 2003, the results still offer a key to helping struggling students and schools.
Another study on vision and learning was released earlier this year, “Improvement in Academic Behaviors After Successful Treatment of Convergence Insufficiency
.” Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is an eye coordination disorder which can make reading difficult, even for the brightest of children. The study involved 218 children and showed that, “A successful or improved outcome after CI treatment was associated with a reduction in the frequency of adverse academic behaviors and parental concern associated with reading and school work as reported by parents.”
While most schools assume they have ruled out vision problems by performing cursory vision screenings, vision screenings only detect approximately 5% of actual vision problems. Screenings have missed serious vision problems, such as Amblyopia
(often referred to as lazy eye), as well as eye coordination problems such as convergence insufficiency
Over 17 visual skills
are required for success in the classroom. The standard vision screening and eye exams only tests a couple of these visual skills. The diagnosis and treatment of vision disorders that interfere with reading and learning is best performed by an optometrist who provides an in-office program of optometric vision therapy. These doctors have pursued extensive post-graduate education in vision development and they diagnose and treat learning-related vision disorders all the time.
At Hellerstein & Brenner Vision Center, P.C., we have seen many children in the Denver-Metro area, who had struggled for years before finding out they had convergence insufficiency (a very correctable eye coordination problem). When children struggle with reading and learning it can cost their parents dearly in time, money, and frustration. In addition, there are significant costs to the schools when students have undiagnosed vision disorders.
During the month of August, parents from all over the world will be telling their stories of how their children went from struggling to success on the COVD Facebook page
. Watch this short video of one of our own recent vision therapy graduate’s mother talk about how her son went from years of being a struggling reader to a successful, confident reader in a matter of months with the help of vision therapy.
Visit covd.org for a direct link to the Facebook page to watch more videos and for more information on the critical link between vision and learning
The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international, non-profit optometric membership organization that provides education, evaluation and board certification programs in behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy and visual rehabilitation. To launch their 2012 campaign, a series of public service announcements
(PSAs) were released to help raise awareness that vision problems can not only interfere with learning, but sports performance, and other activities of daily living. These PSAs also address vision problems that impact individuals who have autism spectrum disorders or those who have suffered a head injury. The organization is comprised of doctors of optometry, vision therapists and other vision specialists. For more information on learning-related vision problems, vision therapy and COVD, please visit www.covd.org
or call 888.268.3770.
Feel free to send questions, comments or insights on your journey of transformation.
With love and gratitude,
Lynn Fishman Hellerstein, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO
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