How Does Vision Therapy Improve Reading Ability?

Published on
March 23, 2023

According to the American Optometric Association, approximately 80% of what a child learns in school is acquired through vision, and vision problems can significantly impact academic performance.

As a developmental optometrist, Dr. Zurcher has treated many students who struggle to learn how to read due to vision problems. In this blog, we will explore how vision therapy can help improve reading ability, what functional vision is essential for reading success, and how vision therapy can address learning-related vision problems.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a specialized treatment that addresses problems related to eye focusing, tracking, making reading eye movements, depth perception, peripheral vision, visual perception and processing skills, as well as visual sensory motor integration. Unlike routine eye exams, a neurodevelopmental vision evaluation tests each skill to identify where a patient excels and where they struggle. A customized treatment plan is then created to develop those skills up to the expected level for that patient's age.

How Does Vision Therapy Improve Reading Ability?

Reading involves a series of visual skills, including:

  • Turning both eyes inward when reading
  • Focusing and zooming in on the page
  • Accurately tracking eyes across the page and scanning into peripheral vision where the next word is located
  • Processing visual information, which involves understanding and taking meaning from what you're looking at

If a student's vision is poor, or their visual skills are not up to par, it can significantly impact their reading performance, comfort, and enjoyment. In some cases, it can lead to eyestrain, headaches, fatigue, frustration, skipping words and lines, losing place on the page, and poor comprehension.

Through a sequence of vision therapy activities, patients can learn how to control their eyes, acquire visual information, and process it accurately and efficiently. They learn how to do a skill, then learn how to do it easily without a lot of effort, and finally, try to ingrain these skills long term. As these learning-related vision problems are improved, reading performance often improves as well.

Take our online visual skills assessment to help identify if you or your child has a potential visual deficit that may be interfering with success in the classroom, work, or sports /about-us-practice-page/our-specialty/vision-therapy-specialty/vision-and-learning-quiz/

Schedule a Neurodevelopmental Vision Evaluation to Improve Your Child's Reading Skills with Dr. Zurcher, Developmental Optometrist

If your child is struggling to read, it may be due to a vision problem. Consider scheduling a neurodevelopmental vision evaluation with a developmental optometrist like Dr. Zurcher. A comprehensive vision evaluation can identify the root cause of your child's reading difficulties and help create a customized treatment plan to improve their visual skills. With vision therapy, we can learn to control their eyes, acquire visual information, and process it efficiently and accurately. Contact us today at (360) 491-2121 to learn more about how we can help your child achieve their full potential in reading and learning.

Parents who want a more thorough evaluation of their child's vision or are concerned about a potential underlying vision problem, visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of pediatric vision services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.



Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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