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Dyslexia & Vision Therapy

Dylexia can mean different things to different people.  "Dys" means "not".  "Lex" means "read".  Dyslexia therefore literally means not being able to read.  A substantial number of individuals with dyslexia actually have other visual problems that make the problem greater.  At times, the vision problems may be the reason the individual was diagnosed as having Dyslexia to begin with.  If a vision problem affects learning, it can sometimes be misidentified as dyslexia because there are similarities between the two.

Fortunately, the eye health and the eye sight of individuals of children and adults with Dyslexia is good, and although we may think that eyeglasses should solve all vision problems, in fact they don’t.  It is common that children and adults with dyslexia also have a visual component that contribute to and compounds their difficulties.

When a child struggles with reading and learning, the first step should be to determine if there is a vision problem. Treatment may involve eyeglasses, optometric vision therapy, or both.  Optometric Vision Therapy addresses vision problems that can interfere with learning to read, or reading to learn.  Once the vision problem is treated successfully, tutoring and other special services are then much more effective.

According to pediatrician and parent advocate for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Dr. Debra Walhof:

“It is important to remember that normal sight may not necessarily be synonymous with normal vision...That being said, if there is a vision problem, it could be preventing the best tutoring and learning methods from working.  Now that certainly doesn't mean every dyslexic child needs vision therapy, however in my opinion, skills such as focusing, tracking and others are essential foundational tools for reading. In general, if your child has trouble with reading or learning to read, getting a vision evaluation to assess these skills from a qualified Developmental Optometrist would be a smart move.”

Diagnosis and Treatment for Dyslexia and Vision

Behavioral and Developmental Optometrists in East Brunswick and Old Bridge, NJ have the knowledge and experience to diagnose and treat vision disorders that masquerade as Dyslexia or contribute to the unique challenges presented by Dyslexia.

References

Vision, Learning & Dyslexia
The Joint Organizational Policy Statement of the American Academy of Optometry and the American Optometric Association

Vision and Dyslexia White Paper
COVD’s White Paper on Vision and Dyslexia

Vision Based Learning Problems: The Role Of The Optometrist On The Multidisciplinary Team
A White Paper provided by COVD

Optometric Vision Therapy: The Research
Research on Vision and Dyslexia (published in COVD’s journal, Optometry & Vision Development)

Instability of Fixation in Dyslexia: Development – Deficits – Training
Burkhart Fischer, Dipl Phys; Klaus Hartnegg, Dipl Phys
Centre of Neuroscience, Optomotor Laboratory, University of Freiburg

Saccade Control in Dyslexia: Development, Deficits, Training and Transfer to Reading
Burkhart Fischer, Dipl Phys; Klaus Hartnegg, Dipl Phys
Centre of Neuroscience, Optomotor Laboratory, University of Freiburg