When Theodor Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss, wrote the book “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut”, he was only kidding! For the visually sighted, reading doesn’t begin until the eyes effectively communicate words to the language centers of the brain.
While this may seem obvious, there are educators and physicians who overlook the role of vision in the reading process. The AOA’s Clinical Practice Guideline to Care of the Patient with Learning Related Vision Problems, co-authored by Dr. Press, makes it clear that vision can and does play a significant role in reading problems.
Problems in learning to read are distinct from problems in reading to learn.
Difficulty in learning to read typically relates to underdeveloped reading readiness skills involving visual processing or perception. Difficulty in reading to learn often relates to poor visual efficiency involving tracking, focusing or eye teaming.
What would it be like for you if print were unstable when you’re trying to read? Essentially it’s the same as someone with normal visual skills trying to read in a car. The induced instability makes you uncomfortable, yet it has no bearing on listening to someone else reading and comprehending perfectly. Reading is multi-factorial and vision is multi-faceted. An important thing to keep in mind is that having 20/20 eyesight has no bearing on how well a child can read. The complexities of visual efficiency and processing are significantly related to how a child can learn to read and read to learn.
With regard to reading, our Comprehensive Binocular Vision Examination picks up where “routine eye exams” leave off.