Vision is more than 20/20! A recent article in AOL Health reminds me that this is a message worth repeating. The article tells the story of Andrew, a 2nd grader struggling in school. After a series of professional evaluations, his mother knew that he was NOT learning disabled, but no one was able to identify the problem. A vision screening confirmed that he had “perfect eyesight,” 20/20, so it wasn’t a vision problem……… or was it? Only when Andrew’s mother sought the services of a developmental optometrist, Dr. Kimberly Walker, was a vision problem diagnosed and the wheels set in motion to help Andrew succeed.
Clarity of vision is only one of the visual skills children require to succeed in an academic environment. But 20/20 has little impact on a child’s ability to function with comfort and efficiency. This requires other visual skills– eye movements, focusing, and eye teaming. Here is how I often explain this concept to parents: Suppose your child has 10 energy units to complete a homework assignment involving reading a chapter and then applying this new knowledge by writing a short essay. The average student uses 2 energy units to coordinate their eyes, focus them without fatigue, and move them accurately through the pages of text. That leaves 8 energy units to comprehend what is being read and consider what is important for completing the essay. Your child, on the other hand, requires 7 or 8 energy units to coordinate, focus and move the eyes through the text. With only 2 or 3 energy units remaining, comprehension is going to suffer and this will be reflected in the written assignment.
Through the work of a developmental optometrist, Andrew has recovered those energy units and is on his way. Thanks to Andrew and his mom for sharing their story. Hopefully more children will be more successful when they discover that vision is more than 20/20!
Be sure to read Dr. Walker’s guest post about divergence excess strabismus!