The Need (part 1)

Research presented this morning at COVD’s annual meeting had an uber important message:  we need more vision therapy!  Drs. Lisa Christian, Angela Peddle, and 4th year students Shannon Pennifeod and Beth Schellenberg presented the preliminary results of a very important study.

The doctors and students from Waterloo School of Optometry reviewed the records of young patients, all of whom  had been identified as learning disabled by the district school board.  Before writing an individual education plan (IEP) for each, the school board advised that each student have a comprehensive vision examination performed by the pediatric service of Waterloo School of Optometry.

The records of 68 students ranging in age from 6-12 years were reviewed.  None of them had ever had a previous eye exam.  Children requiring spectacles were not included in the study.  The number of vision problems discovered in this population was astounding.

  • 43% had reduced stereo vision
  • 67% had binocular dysfunction at near
  • 36% had signs of convergence insufficiency
  • 38% had deficient accommodative skills

Six measurements of binocularity were obtained; 60% of patients failed two or more of those tests.

Children with reading problems who require individual education plans are at high risk for vision problems. What would have happened if these children were not referred for a comprehensive vision examination?  They would have continued to struggle with undiagnosed vision problems.  We need comprehensive vision examinations for ALL children entering school.  Many of theses children will also require vision therapy.

Does your child have a reading or learning disability?  Please make sure that child has a comprehensive vision examination.  Make it happen.

Find a doctor in your area.

Read more about comprehensive eye examinations here.

Categories: Binocular Vision, Learning Related Visual Problems, Reading, ResearchTags: , , , ,


  1. Thank you so much for getting the word out there on this need. I am a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in the assessment and remediation of children’s handwriting skills. The children who come to my clinic for help are not labeled with any learning disability. But they and their parents are frustrated beyond belief about the student’s struggles with handwriting. I include a vision assessment in every initial evaluation. After having worked and trained with Dr. Robert Fox, Dr.Jack Richmond and Dr. John Child, I understand the need for a vision assessment when a child is struggling in school. My assessments uncover symptoms that warrant a complete vision assessment by a developmental optometrist in 95% of the children who come to me. And, so far, all of them had their children assessed and – all of them needed optometric services of some kind (from glasses to vision therapy). It is amazing how much more successful the child is in OT after their vision issues are addressed. The results of the optometric assessment guide me in further treatments in my therapy and the child finds school to be much more of a pleasant experience! I will definitely share this article with my readers.

    • Katherine, thank you so much for this feedback! Collaboratively, we can help so many children. But we need to make people aware of the need to consider vision when those children are struggling. COVD is working at getting this message out, and we appreciate your help and your good work. RLM

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