What happens to your reading performance if you have poor visual skills? Dr. Maureen Powers investigated this very question by artificially creating a visual skills deficit in otherwise “normal” readers. A group of patients with an average age of 11.5 years was asked to read while wearing increasing amounts of prism. The prism creates a demand on the visual system which simulates a visual skills deficit. As the amount of prism was increased, reading performance (measured as reading rate in words per minute) decreased. Many of the patients showed a “rebound” effect. At a certain point, the amount of prism was too great and the patients reported double vision. The patients were no longer expending energy to compensate for the visual problem! They just read one of the double images, and their reading rates increased. Dr. Powers concluded that visual deficits can have an impact on reading performance.
Sometimes, it is not the most obvious vision problems that are causing poor academic performance. In this case, it was the effort required to overcome the visual deficit that was to blame. Don’t wait until your child has double vision! If your child is struggling in school, find a developmental optometrist today.